Wednesday, August 09, 2006

 

Red Cross: Israel denying safe passage

Red Crescent (Red Cross) Aid Trucks

 Red Cross: Israel denying safe passageThe Israeli military has denied permission
for aid groups to move food and medicine to besieged villages in southern Lebanon
for two days, the Red Cross said Monday. The full article will be available on the
Web for a limited time: http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/world/15219903.htm
  (c) 2006 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
************************************************************************  
Is there no mercy? Is there no human kindness?
No.
If there were, this war would not be waged in the first place.
If there were, innocent civilians would not be targeted.
If there were, innocent civilians would not be injured, maimed, and die.
Children and babies would not die.

There is no mercy. There is no human kindness.
This is the face of war. War is evil.
************************************************************************************

Red Cross: Israel denying safe passage
KATHY GANNON
Associated Press


TYRE, Lebanon - The Israeli military has denied permission for aid groups to move food and medicine to besieged villages in southern Lebanon for two days, the Red Cross said Monday.
Without guarantees of safe passage, the Red Cross has been unable to move supplies beyond the port city of Tyre to towns and villages south of the Litani River, where thousands of people are believed trapped, said Richard Huguenin, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross.


The Litani runs roughly parallel to the Lebanese-Israeli border, about 20 miles to the north. The area between it and the border has been the site of the heaviest Israeli bombardment and ground fighting with Hezbollah guerrillas.


"It is now a question of the humanitarian consequences of what is looking like a blockade," Huguenin told The Associated Press in Tyre.
"At night we ask for permission and in the morning we get either a red light or a green light and for the past 48 hours it has been red," he said.


The Israeli army told the AP Monday that humanitarian agencies wishing to send convoys into the area should coordinate with the military in advance as they have in the past. The army said that in the past, it has been necessary to deny permission for military operational reasons, but no convoy had ever been hit.


A Greek ship loaded with Red Cross supplies had been due Monday but was denied permission to dock in Tyre and was diverted to Sidon, north of the Litani, Huguenin said. Israeli warships have blockaded ports since the conflict began, only letting aid ships into Beirut and occasionally into the southern ports.


"It seems the military buildup has really begun in the last two days. It has certainly been a lot noisier," he said of the aerial bombing of areas around Tyre and south on the road to Naqoura.
The Red Cross estimates there are still 100,000 people south of the Litani. Among them are 27,000 in Tyre, 40,000 Palestinian refugees living in four camps that surround the city and 33,000 in villages.


Huguenin said the Red Cross has distributed aid throughout Tyre and has some supplies meant for villages south and east of the city, but is unable to deliver them.
"What do we do next?" he said. "We are getting phone calls from isolated areas in the south close to the border from people who need food and medicines."


He said people who did not leave during last week's pause in Israeli air assaults were among the most vulnerable - the poor, sick and those without vehicles. He spoke to elderly "who said if they were going to die, they wanted to die in their homes."


The Red Cross said it was not seeking a halt to the fighting but asked that at least one route be designated safe to allow aid through.
"The lifeline must be made to this part of the country. It is under blockade, no ships coming in, and the roads are blocked," said Huguenin.
Sidon, Lebanon's third-largest city, is now home to some 50,000 refugees. Last weekend, Israel dropped leaflets warning residents to flee, but Huguenin said there have been no reports of people leaving Sidon.


Annick Bouvier of the ICRC said in Geneva the relief agency had planned to reach some villages in southern Lebanon, "but due to the level of hostilities, it's impossible for us to proceed."
A Red Cross convoy did bring supplies to Marjayoun from Beirut on Monday, but it was the only convoy able to reach cities south of Sidon, an ICRC statement said.


The World Health Organization warned that 60 percent of the hospitals in Lebanon would have to close unless fuel was delivered this week.
"We urge all parties to ensure safe passage of fuel supplies to hospitals," said Dr. Ala Alwan of WHO.



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