2.8.06

700,000 displaced by Bush's bombs in Lebanon

Al-Ahram Weekly | Region | 700,000 displaced:

Shock was visible on the face of the UN's emergency relief coordinator this weekend when he toured the desolate wasteland that a few weeks ago was Beirut's busy, packed southern suburbs. 'It is horrific. I did not know it was block after block of houses,' Jan Egeland told reporters amid the rubble, affirming that Israel's bombing of the suburb of Haret Hreik, where Hizbullah had its headquarters, breaks humanitarian law.

His surprise may have reflected the time it took the world's media to catch on to the scale of the humanitarian crisis. But international concern about the humanitarian disaster inflicted on Lebanon grew this week, though pressure on Israel still falls short of Lebanese hopes. The UN launched a flash appeal on Monday for $150 million to ease the man-made crisis.

The UN also joined relief worker calls for Israel to guarantee a 'humanitarian corridor' and safe access to blockaded ports so they can transport aid to desperate areas. 'But only a cessation of hostilities can really make it safe for us and our humanitarian colleagues,' Egeland told reporters.

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