Caritas Lebanon: Risk of a humanitarian crisis amidst a regional conflict
By Vatican News
In a touching open letter, the President of Caritas Lebanon, Father Michel Abboud, expresses deep concern about regional tensions and asks partners and supporters to monitor the situation's developments. The conflict between Israel and Palestine can have "serious repercussions" on Lebanon, especially in the southern regions where tensions are escalating at an alarming rate. Border residents have started fleeing their homes, seeking safety as bombings and insecurity loom. More than 29,000 people have been internally displaced in Lebanon since the beginning of October, according to the latest statement from the United Nations Migration Agency on Friday 27 October.
The ongoing war poses "serious risks to our country's situation, as we have seen in Lebanon's history during previous conflicts, especially considering the current growing tensions at the southern border of Lebanon," Fr. Abboud emphasises. He relays the personal drama of Gabi Hage, a father of three, who reports to Caritas, "Our house is very close to the border, so we are leaving and going to the village. All my neighbors are doing the same."
Immediate humanitarian assistance
In the letter, Father Abboud emphasises the need to "be prepared" and the urgency of providing immediate humanitarian assistance, including shelter, social support, food, and medical aid. The severity of the situation is also confirmed by the United Nations reports, with the Emergency and Humanitarian Affairs offices saying they have prepared for "a scenario of mass displacement."
The President of Caritas Lebanon acknowledges the limits and scope of the impending crisis.
"However, our resources are limited, and the needs could be enormous," he says. He then makes a touching appeal for support while recognising the collective efforts in these difficult times.
The possibility of conflict expansion
In a separate speech during a meeting of the "International Member Organisations of Caritas," Father Michel Abboud had already gathered support and resources to prepare for the growing crisis in the Middle East and reiterated the need to be ready for the possibility of conflict expanding to Lebanon.
He also reassures Caritas Lebanon's constant commitment: "The current situation," he says, "is different from that of 2006. Currently, people in Lebanon are facing an economic crisis, where many families cannot receive their relatives, and if they do, they will face financial difficulties."
Preparation and work
Father Abboud's call is for solidarity with Caritas Lebanon. "We know we are not alone; the Church through all Caritas organizations worldwide, through you, will be with us. We hope not to have to use anything we prepare, and that the war ends, and peace reigns worldwide, but we know very well that our wishes do not always come true, so let's prepare and work."
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