Humanitarian agencies issue a fervent plea for the cessation of hostilities in Southern Lebanon as growing humanitarian needs are further exacerbated

Thursday 7 March 2024

Humanitarian agencies issue a fervent plea for the cessation of hostilities in Southern Lebanon as

growing humanitarian needs are further exacerbated

The Lebanon Humanitarian INGO Forum, made up of 66 international non-governmental organizations,

expresses profound concern over the escalation of hostilities in Lebanon, particularly in the South, that

has now entered its sixth month.1

So far, a shocking 91,288 civilians have been displaced - 37 % of whom are children and 33 % of whom

are women - and 42 civilian lives, including 7 children, have been tragically lost.2 3 50 schools have also

already closed, depriving 60,000 children’s access to education in the region. Further, 9 primary

healthcare centers have closed due to the security situation.4 5

The financial impact of the ongoing hostilities on Southern Lebanon has amounted to 1.2 billion USD in

direct losses including affected agricultural lands, with an additional 300 million USD in indirect losses,

including businesses affected.6 Independent researchers have also noted that 520 residences have been

damaged, while 3,300 others have incurred partial damages. Worryingly, the unlawful use of white

phosphorus munitions is a threat to civilian lives and agricultural lands, particularly in a region heavily

reliant on agriculture for livelihood, with 47,000 olive trees and other crops already destroyed.7 8

These figures are extremely distressing in a country reeling from its worst economic crisis in decades,

where the ongoing escalation of violence will continue to have a dramatic impact on civilian populations

in the country, many of whom are already dependent on humanitarian assistance for basic needs.

Wafaa, a 48-year-old single mother of three recently widowed, hails from Kfar Kela, an area in Southern

Lebanon heavily bombarded during conflict. She shares the immense challenges she faces following the

destruction of her home and loss of her husband due to hostilities:9

“I got a phone call saying that our home is fully damaged. Imagine! What shall I do? Where will I go? We

lost everything … When we fled our home, we did not carry any clothes with us. Today, my children and I

only have the clothes on us, and when we need to wash them, we lock ourselves in a room until that outfit

is dry”.

Roula, a 21 year old also displaced from Kfar Kela, stated,10

“I am sad. I stay in my room most of the time. I want my life back. I want to work again. I need the money,

but I also need to feel that I have a purpose.”

10 Roula’s real name has been changed to protect her identity

9 Wafaa’s real name has been changed to protect her identity

8 The Ministry of Agriculture estimated in November 2023 that 460 hectares of forests and orchards had been affected by white

phosphorus, with figures currently expected to be higher.

7 Save the Children Press Release, February 2024

6 Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper, February 2024

5 Lebanon situation update # 12 - Relief Web. February 2024

4 Lebanon at a Glance - UNOCHA - February 21, 2024

3 IOM Mobility Snapshot Round 26, 29 February 2024

2 UNOCHA, January snapshot

1 The Lebanon Humanitarian INGO Forum (LHIF) is an informal and independent coordinating body comprised of 6

international NGOs (INGOs) who are working to address the needs of vulnerable individuals, families and communities throughout


While people in Southern Lebanon need assistance more than ever, the escalation of violence has

restrained the delivery of humanitarian assistance and restricted the work of humanitarian organizations

trying to support all affected communities, particularly communities in hard-to-reach border towns. Despite

these challenges, humanitarian organizations remain committed to delivering assistance. We urge all

stakeholders to guarantee unimpeded access for humanitarian actors, allowing us to continue our work

safely to provide aid to those in need. We remind all parties to the conflict that civilians, humanitarian

workers, and civilian infrastructure are not a target.

We strongly appeal to the international community and relevant authorities to prioritize the cessation of

hostilities in Lebanon, bringing an end to the suffering and hardships of civilians who are only striving to

live safe and dignified lives. We call upon stakeholders to uphold international law and work towards a

permanent ceasefire in the region.