Concern over food shortages as ACT member helps where it can

By Dominic Nutt, ACT International

Many of the people who have fled the Israeli bombing of Lebanon have found refuge in public schools in Beirut and other cities.

The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), a member of ACT International (Action by Churches Together) is doing its best to help some of them, bringing in much-needed food parcels.

(The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, the development arm of the Anglican Church of Canada, is a member of ACT and has contributed $25,000 to ACT’s global appeal for relief in Lebanon.)

Around 550 displaced people are camped in The Charity School in central Beirut. Conditions here are basic and difficult, but better than in many other places.

There are only 12 toilets and no shower facilities. Water, as elsewhere across the city, must be delivered by truck.

A few days ago MECC-ACT delivered 55 food parcels, which were split into two and handed over to the 100 families living there. These parcels will last only a few days.

In the meantime, Hezbollah often brings the families breakfast and hot evening meals and sometimes lunch too.

It is common for political parties here to deliver food and supplies to displaced people in a battle to win hearts and minds. And it appears to be working.

Ahmad Hmedy 19, fled with seven members of his immediate family from the town of Meis al near the Israeli border.

His father stayed behind to look after Ahmad’s grandmother, 75, and his 83-year-old grandfather.

“They are too old to move, so my father, who is a teacher, is with them,” said Ahmad.

“They only had a few days’ worth of food left when we went. I can’t contact him so I don’t know if they have run out now.

“When the conflict started I was furious with Hezbollah for bringing this war on us. Now I am furious with Israel for bombing us. Now I just want them to win. They bring us food.”

Ahmad says he is “sad” that Israeli leaders have suggested that anyone who remains in the south is a terrorist

Dominic Nutt is the Christian Aid emergencies specialist.

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