The United Nations and aid agencies estimate that around 867,000 people have been affected by the hostilities that erupted on 12 July 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah. They include 710,000 (one-fifth of the Lebanese population) who have been uprooted from their homes. Of these, 210,000 have fled to other countries.
Volunteers helping the victims of the conflict are finding it extremely difficult to reach affected villages and towns due to bombing. Such life-threatening situations can easily dampen spirits and discourage anyone. But volunteers on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border are committed - to the extent of endangering their lives - in providing emergency relief and evacuation support to the displaced and injured.
There are many ways you can participate in humanitarian relief in Lebanon now. A primary focus of this relief is providing help to those in centers for the displaced. As of noon Friday, July 21, the Ministry of Social Affairs indicated that there were 180,000 displaced persons being taken care of in 170 centers for the displaced, mostly in public and private schools throughout Lebanon. These numbers continue to grow by the hour as more displaced find their way to shelters and the information is transmitted to the Higher Relief Council, the central coordination office based at the Grand Serail. In addition, there are many other displaced people being housed in people's homes, some with help from government relief services. Different ministries are taking responsible for the centers for the displaced in regard to issues of security, administration, health, hygiene, etc. under the general coordination of the Higher Relief Council. The Ministry of Social Affairs is responsible for four issues on the site of these centers:
Those who want to volunteer should try to register by calling the Lebanese National Relief Hotline (01-985880). And those who can, might come to one of the orientation and training meetings (with or without being registered). For those who wish, volunteers can be paired to volunteer together. Whatever your profession, skills, abilities, and education, you can volunteer to help in some way.