Cross-border Clashes Deepen Suffering for Refugees and Locals in Crisis-Hit Lebanon

Image credit, NRC

Amidst ongoing conflict and multiple crises in Lebanon, the plight of refugees and local communities in the South has worsened significantly over the past six months. According to a statement from Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), hostilities across the border have intensified, leading to civilian casualties and widespread displacement.

In the last 48 hours alone, attacks in South Lebanon have claimed several civilian lives and caused injuries, exacerbating an already dire situation. The exchange of explosives across the southern border has uprooted more than 90,000 civilians from their homes and resulted in over 70 fatalities. Israeli assaults on southern Lebanese villages have inflicted substantial damage on agricultural lands, disrupting the livelihoods of farmers who rely on these lands for sustenance.

Egeland recently visited the county and expressed grave concern over the escalating tensions and the devastating impact on communities. “The conflict in Gaza and its wider repercussions have heightened tensions to a breaking point. The suffering endured by civilians, both refugees and locals, is untenable,” he stated. The influx of displaced individuals into overcrowded shelters further strains resources, while inadequate funding hampers efforts to provide essential assistance.

Lebanon, long known for its generosity in hosting refugees from Syria and Palestine, finds itself grappling with deepening crises exacerbated by economic turmoil. The Lebanese pound has plummeted in value by 90%, exacerbating the plight of vulnerable populations already reeling from the effects of the economic downturn. Egeland emphasized the urgent need for international support to alleviate the suffering and prevent further destabilization in the region.

The NRC has called upon all parties involved in the conflict, as well as international mediators, to prioritize peace and stability. Adherence to international humanitarian law, protection of civilians, and cessation of indiscriminate attacks are imperative to mitigate the humanitarian fallout. “It is essential to halt the fighting and facilitate the return of families to their homes, farmers to their lands, and children to schools,” Egeland urged.

As the crisis deepens, Egeland underscored the urgency of providing immediate support to affected communities. “These are communities that have already endured immense suffering and require comprehensive assistance,” he emphasized.

In light of the escalating situation, the NRC is actively providing aid to displaced families in the southern region, Beirut, and Mount area. Both food kits and cash assistance are being distributed to those affected by the hostilities along the border with Israel.

As Lebanon grapples with multiple crises, the international community faces a pressing obligation to extend solidarity and support to alleviate the suffering of refugees and local populations caught in the crossfire.