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Humanitarian groups rush to Lebanon's aid amid blockade
BEIRUT: Humanitarian organizations are fighting to save lives and reduce the damage in Lebanon as Israel's devastating offensive continues. "People need everything. They need food, medicine. Some need blankets. The problem is security on the roads ... Trips that used to take half-an-hour now take four to five hours," said Hicham Hassan, official spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Delegation to Lebanon.
"The Lebanese Red Cross [LRC] is managing to move around but with difficulty."
Since the start of the Israeli attacks on Lebanon last Wednesday, the LRC has dispatched 2,000 Lebanese first aid volunteers concentrated in Beirut, the Bekaa Valley and the South.
The LRC has mobilized 200 ambulances and set up three operations rooms. Sixty-three wounded Lebanese civilians have been transported to hospitals or clinics by the LRC.
The UN peacekeeping force in South Lebanon said on Monday it was unable to supply food and water to its troops or deliver humanitarian aid to civilians because Israel would not guarantee their safe passage.
The Israeli military has not responded to the force's repeated requests to secure the safe movement of convoys carrying supplies, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said in a statement.
"After a conversation between the UN secretary general and the prime minister of Israel ... we received assurances that UNIFIL will be allowed freedom of movement, but this pledge has not yet been implemented on the ground," the statement said.
Although help in the means of personnel has yet to arrive, some donations have made are making their way to Lebanon.
The Kuwaiti Red Crescent has donated 10 tons of medical supplies to the LRC, most of which will be arriving on Saturday.
On Monday, a statement released by the Kuwaiti Embassy said that Kuwait was preparing to send food items to Lebanon through Syria.
Representatives for the United Arab Emirates Red Crescent have also granted Lebanon a 1 million dirham ($300,000) aid package that included medicine and food packets.
The LRC is one of the few organizations that have been able to access most regions of Lebanon, but not without complications and risks. Israeli fire hit an LRC ambulance during the first day of fighting last Wednesday, wounding two LRC volunteers.
While LRC volunteers work in the field, other aid organizations are joining forces to assess the needs of the country.