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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 06-07-23

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Jan Egeland, the U.N. emergency relief coordinator, said on Monday he will launch from Beirut an international appeal for urgent humanitarian assistance for the next 3 months on behalf of the whole UN system and several partner humanitarian organizations.

    In statements at Larnaca Airport where he stopped before departing for Beirut, Egeland said the Lebanon war is not a natural disaster but a senseless war which should never have started.

    In his statements, Egeland said he is on a mission on behalf of Secretary General Kofi Anan to go to Beirut, and hopefully southern Lebanon to assist the humanitarian aid and more importantly asses what the UN can do to improve conditions and to come to the relief of Lebanese people in the hour of greatest need.

    Egeland said that «on Monday he will launch from Beirut an international appeal for urgent humanitarian assistance for the next 3 months on behalf of the whole UN system and several partner humanitarian organizations».

    «This will be an appeal urging, begging the international community to give us efficient recourses so we can give enough medical material, enough shelter material, enough food and water and sanitation services for those hundreds of thousands of Lebanese civilians who have had to flee», he added.

    From then on, Egeland said, he will go to Israel on Tuesday for talks with the Israeli government. The talks will concentrate on the humanitarian corridors that we are hopefully setting up in the next few days.

    I have appealed to the Israeli government as I have asked the Lebanese government to make safe passage possible for all humanitarian convoys, relief supplies and all humanitarian workers, he said.

    Egeland noted the UN would like to use Cyprus as one of the staging areas for our international relief effort going from Limassol harbor to Lebanon. From there again we want to have humanitarian corridors going into the country and into the people, he added.

    The UN official said Israel has given initial positive assurances that they want to work with us to establish these corridors but we still do not have a formal go ahead however we have established teams on the UN side to negotiate such safe passage humanitarian corridors.

    He said he also wants to go to Gaza and the Palestinian people who are also in their up gravest hour of need in many years. We need to have a more effective relief effort there and we need Israel to enable the relief effort more effectively.

    The UN official said he is particular worried for the situation for the civilian population in the south who are so bravely caught in the cross fire.

    Asked how he will get air safe passage when Beirut airport was destroyed by Israel, Egeland said the UN has asked for three humanitarian corridors from the sea. The Prime Minister of Israel has said that the passage going from Cyprus to Beirut is ready and clear and we need two more of them. Then the UN wants safe passage by land transport to Beirut and also the possibility to land airplanes at the Hariri International airport in Beirut where it will use Cyprus for incoming and outgoing relief consignments.

    We hope we will be able to make Hariri airport in Beirut which has been damaged by one of the hundreds and hundreds of air attacks, possible to use by airplanes maybe first by C -130 airplanes, which can use relatively small air strips. At the moment we are not able to take any relief in the country at any point and more importantly we are not able to distribute it beyond certain few points which we can reach at the moment, he added.

    Asked to describe the Lebanon crisis, Egeland said it is already a very big crisis. More than half a million people are directly affected either because they are refugees or displaced and have fled their homes. I think this number will grow dramatically.

    We are very concerned that the whole population in southern part of Lebanon has been asked to flee by Israel, and these are people who have lived their homes for generations and have nothing to do with the deployable and despicable Hezbollah rockets that are raining into Israel and against which Israel have the right to defend itself. The war has to stop. This is not a natural disaster. This is a man made crisis. This is a senseless war. It should never have started it should never been carried out like it is now, the UN official stressed.

    The funds required for the Lebanon crisis are to exceed 100 million dollars.

    Egeland praised the effort of the Cypriot people and government. Its been really amazing what has been done from here in receiving tens of thousands of people and feeling welcomed. The evacuees coming from the UN and from so many other countries have been very grateful of what has been done by Cyprus.

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