.- Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is expanding its operations in Lebanon with the opening today of a new national office in Beirut. Due to the needs for both immediate assistance and long-term rebuilding, CRS decided to establish a more permanent core in the country.
"It quickly became obvious that the devastating effects of the war on the whole of Lebanon require more long-term support,â said Mark Schnellbaecher, CRS regional director for the Middle East and Europe. "We'll focus on rebuilding with programs that pay off for future stability, like back-to-school programs and specialized psychosocial support for children or programs to help generate income, like cash for work.â
When the war in Lebanon started July 12, CRS brought in emergency aid experts from around the globe to help local agencies set up centers for the hundreds of thousands who were fleeing bombed villages. Within days CRS, together with its local partner Caritas Lebanon, had served nearly 100,000 people.
CRS reports that almost all of the nearly one million people who left their villages have returned. But up to 40 percent are living with family and friends because they cannot live in their homes, which were damaged or destroyed or lack of electricity and water.
CRS places high value on partnering with local agencies to facilitate its work. In addition to Caritas Lebanon, CRS also coordinates closely with the Development for People and Nature Association (DPNA) as well as Mouvement Social.
Mouvement Social is working with communities in Nabatyeh to refurbish schools. Caritas Lebanon and DPNA are distributing a month's supply of food packets for 10,000 families in the Saida area and delivering a week's supply of water and more than 37,000 hygiene kits.