In the wake of ceasefire, humanitarian crisis emerges in Lebanon.

By August 18, 2006

Lebanon (MNN)–Since the ceasefire began Monday, approximately 200,000 Lebanese residents have returned to their home areas.

The constant shifting of the populace makes relief work very challenging. Christian Reformed World Relief Committee’s director of relief and rehabilitation, Jacob Kramer, notes a trend showing that young people are not necessarily coming back.

That leaves a population less able to fend for themselves in a difficult situation. “There is a quite a number of very economically vulnerable people, older ladies, the blue collar workers, and they suffer quite strongly under these circumstances, and that’s where we reach out to them, mainly through food distribution.”

There are reports that deliveries of humanitarian supplies, which were stalled by the conflict, are reaching thousands of displaced Lebanese.

However, it’s too hard to track the supplies accurately. Many refugees returning home find they have no home to return to, and so they go back to the camps.

Until things settle down more, Kramer says their teams will likely stay for another six months or so. They’ve been able to share more about what they believe.

Their name tells the internally displaced people (IDPs) much…as for a ‘traditional’ approach to sharing the Gospel, he says, “It’s an opportunity, but they have very strong belief themselves.”

That, in and of itself does not present an insurmountable obstacle. He adds, “We enable their churches, their small churches, to be a blessing to the people around it–and that has met a very good reaction in Lebanon.”

CRWRC got involved on August 1 to help the vulnerable and be an encouragement to Christians. Their teams work to strengthen the witness of the Christian churches that they work with in a land abundant with many groups that are hostile towards the church.

In answer to the question: Why help Lebanon? He says many organizations from North America fear that they will be accused of assisting terrorists.

As a result, there is relatively little money going to Lebanon. Kramer goes on to say, “Because of our previous relationship with this Jordanian organization we know that we have a trusted distribution channel through churches where we can be sure that the help is being received by the people in need.”

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