UNIFIL head reassures mayors of south-eastern Lebanon of continued support

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26 Apr 2024

UNIFIL head reassures mayors of south-eastern Lebanon of continued support

Meeting mayors and religious authorities from seven municipalities of south-eastern Lebanon yesterday, UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Lieutenant General Aroldo Lázaro thanked attendees for their continued support for peacekeepers and reassured them of the mission’s continued assistance in the face of evolving challenges.

During the meeting, held at a UNIFIL base in Ibl el-Saqi as the exchanges of fire across the Blue Line approach the seventh month, Lt. Gen. Lázaro heard their views and concerns about the situation. He heard that the current situation has further exacerbated economic and social hardships of the people, tens of thousands of whom have seen their lives upended as they have left villages near the Blue Line.

“We are concerned about the continued exchange of fire across the Blue Line and its detrimental impact on civilians’ lives, well-being, properties, and livelihoods,” he said.

Lt. Gen. Lázaro added that UNIFIL will continue to support these communities, and others in south Lebanon, by addressing their immediate and urgent needs and by working to return calm and stability in the area.

UNIFIL and its peacekeepers have been supporting communities with medical, dental, veterinary, and educational assistance, while ensuring humanitarian access to the most affected. Since early October 2023, UNIFIL has facilitated 25 humanitarian missions to the hard-to-reach areas close to the 120-kilometre Blue Line.

“We recognize that the exchanges of fire across have affected the economic and financial situation faced by the country,” said Lt. Gen. Lázaro. “We can’t replace the Lebanese Government or the humanitarian and development organizations, but we will continue to do what we can while we work to facilitate de-escalation and return stability to the Blue Line.”

Today’s meeting is part of the UNIFIL head’s continued engagement with communities affected by the ongoing exchanges of fire across the mission’s area of operation in south Lebanon.

According to UN agencies, more than 90,000 people have been displaced on the Lebanese side of the Blue Line. In addition, 1,324 casualties have been reported, including 340 deaths, as of 18 April 2024.