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MSF Continues to Provide Assistance Despite Ban on Movement in Southern Lebanon
Beirut — The escalating violence in Lebanon means that humanitarian assistance is unable to reach people in large areas of the country. Roads have been cut off, basic necessities are running out, and people are terrified of leaving their homes. Despite this, the international humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will continue to use every possible avenue to provide life-saving medical assistance to those in need.
As the number of injured civilians continues to mount, hospitals —particularly those south of the Litani River— are running out of medical supplies, fuel, and even food for patients and staff. Vital medical assistance, the majority of which is being provided by the Lebanese themselves, has been severely hampered. MSF is very concerned about the clinics it cannot reach and the many people who cannot access emergency medical services.
"To forbid all forms of movement, without distinction, will lead to even more civilian deaths and suffering," said MSF International President Dr. Rowan Gillies, currently in Beirut. On Monday, Israel said that any moving vehicles south of the Litani River would be destroyed. "We refuse to accept this paralysis of humanitarian assistance and will continue to assist those in need."
Even before the ban on movement in southern parts of Lebanon was announced, it was becoming increasingly difficult to reach people in need. The only road into the area south of the Litani River was cut, and security for aid organizations has continued to deteriorate: on Monday two MSF convoys traveling in different areas in the south of Lebanon were nearly hit by artillery or air strikes. The Israeli and Lebanese authorities were informed of MSF's movements and the convoys were clearly identifiable from the air and the ground as belonging to MSF.
MSF is currently providing medical assistance and distributing relief goods to the most needy in Beirut, the Chouf region, Jezzine, Saïda (Sidon), and Sour (Tyre).