Representation included: Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lebanese Ambassador, Cyprus Civil Defense, UNDP, SDC, USAID, WHO, IFRC, World Vision, WFP, UNJLC, CRS, EU Civil Protection, ICRC, IMC, IOM, OXFAM, US Navy, OCHA, MSF, Samaritan’s Purse
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Cyprus
- The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was present with customs officials to respond to questions and problems incurred by the humanitarian community.
- Regarding the difficulty certain INGOs have encountered in accessing the airport departure area, the MOFA is in a position to intercede and obtain access corresponding to needs.
- The MOFA has been present at both the airport and the port to ensure tax exemption for humanitarian organisations.
Situation in Lebanon
- The Lebanese Ambassador was present at the meeting. He announced that Beirut airport reopened today and that the GoL would be working to facilitate the transport of aid into Lebanon. He expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the United Nations.
- The High Commission of Relief in Lebanon has been receiving aid, however distribution is still proving difficult in certain areas due to the state of roads and bridges.
- The Deputy Director of OCHA in Geneva and Chief of the Emergency Services Branch, Gerhard Putman-Cramer, announced an OCHA presence in Cyprus to assure a coordinated approach to logistics/transport and related operations. OCHA wishes to ensure an optimal integration of all humanitarian common services in the Lebanon Crisis operation.
- Mr. Putman-Cramer has been meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and selected Cyprus-based embassies and donors in the anticipation of Cyprus becoming a major transit hub.
- Thanks was expressed to UNFICYP for its administrative and financial assistance, as well as to DPKO, which may be in a position to assist with assets for specific tasks.
- It is anticipated that the OCHA presence in Cyprus will probably diminish. Meanwhile OCHA will continue to work closely with JLC and WFP for a united UN presence. Mr. Putman-Cramer complimented the manner in which the Cyprus Logistics Cluster has been working to date.
- Access to humanitarian information pertaining to the Lebanon Crisis, including the current funding of the appeal, can be found at www.virtualhic.org and www.reliefweb.int.
UNFICYP (Security Briefing)
- The ceasefire is holding and the IDF is withdrawing, but it was noted that this may take some time.
- 3,500 UNIFIL vanguard troops will be deployed within the next two weeks, along with 6,000 French troops, which will put the operation under French command. (This may have changed since the announcement was made).
- Lebanon remains phase four, however national staff members are being allowed to return to their homes with the exception of those from the south. This is due to the risk of UXO.
- The road south to Saida is now authorized for driving in soft-shelled vehicles, though everything south of Saida and in the southern Beirut suburbs still requires armored vehicles due to the risk of UXO.
- The curfew has now expired, but staff are advised to exercise caution, especially after dark. There is also considered to be a risk to the humanitarian community due to heavy traffic and UXO.
- The Nabatiye road has been declared green to UN staff movements. The road from Tyre to Tibnine and Bent Jbail has been cleared, however there is heavy traffic and the threat of UXO remains high.
- UN humanitarian hubs are being established at Saida and Tyre,
- The UN has appointed a UN Security Officer as NGO Liaison Officer and focal point on safety and security related matters. His name is Mr. Sabir Mughal, cell # 961 70 907 173.
- UN humanitarian hubs are being established in Saida and Tyre. Each will have UN Security Officers to provide direct support. The OIC in Tyre is: Mr. Norman Brown, cell +963 9309 3018. The OIC in Saida is Marco Bril, cell +961 7097 3751.
- Middle Eastern Airways landed an Airbus A320 in Beirut airport at 12:15 on August 17th. Work has begun to repair the damage on runways.
- Runway 16/34 has 2,000 metres which can be used for landing (16) and 2,100 for takeoff (34), but the runway can only accommodate one aircraft at a time due to positioning and backtracking.
- Runway 17/35 is in repair but it will take two weeks before it is ready for use.
- Runway 03/21 is being repaired. The old runway 03/21, formerly used as a taxiway, could possibly be made available for use if required.
- The procedures in preparation for a slot system are in place with the Lebanese authorities. The Director General of Civil Aviation has a meeting with WFP-UNHAS on Monday to finalize matters and it is then up to the Lebanese Civil Aviation Authorities’ discretion to promulgate the NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) to support the procedures.
- WFP-UNHAS is performing an assessment of possible refueling options at the airport. Details of the fuel situation will be provided on the completion of the assessment.
- Passenger booking on the catamaran “Vittoria” has been passed to a travel agent, the procedure is now available at www.unjlc.org/lebanon and will also be attached to these minutes. The first sailing took place on Thursday, August 17th. Future service will take place bi-weekly on Mondays and Fridays. An increase in the number of sailings could be envisaged if the need should arise.
- The passenger service is available to all UN agencies and OCHA-accredited NGOs as well as embassy staff with the proper documentation. All other requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- The Anamcara arrives back in Cyprus on August 17th, and will reload and leave for Lebanon on the evening of Sunday 20th to arrive in Beirut on Monday morning, it will then proceed to Tyre. The Anamcara now has a 40-foot refrigerated container for “cold chain”.
- There is still comparatively little consignment cargo coming into Larnaca, much is still going through Syria or directly into Beirut by ship.
- 450 MT are booked so far for transport on the next sailing of the Anamcara.
- There is currently no backlog at the airport, all goods awaiting transport have been moved to Limassol.
- CMR procedures are being updated and will be posted on the UNJLC website.
- A list of accredited NGOs has been received from OCHA. It is necessary to be on this list in order to obtain free cargo or passenger transport through the Logistics Cluster. NGOs who do not have accreditation can file a request with the OCHA office in their respective duty station.
- The MOFA is drawing up a unified list of priority items for Lebanon. A definitive list will soon be disseminated by the HC in Beirut.
- UNJLC has established a database, the JST, to be used for tracking Cargo Movement Requests and pipeline. This will allow UNJLC to provide full information both to donors and users of the CMR system.
- UNJLC has a customs expert arriving today (August 17th) to document the procedures and address any issues.
- WHO has been meeting daily with the director of emergency preparedness for the Cyprus Ministry of Health in order to support the action in Lebanon.
- WHO will be attending the Government’s weekly Thursday meetings and will report back to the Logistics Cluster.
- WHO distributed the guidelines for drug donations, which will be sent in attachment with these minutes.
- UNHCR has four flights arriving with NFI to transport on the Anamcara. It has also bought supplies of fuel and other items locally in Cyprus which will also go on the ship.
- UNHCR has a procurement list which will be posted on the UNJLC website as soon as possible.
- ICRC has ships sailing into Lebanon from Turkey (Mersin) and Cyprus which serve both Beirut and Tyre. Soon they hope to add Saida to the schedule.
- Some organizations have had difficulties this week transporting goods by truck through Cyprus due to the local holidays. The MOFA informed that in case of an emergency the National Guard could be called in to assist.
- USAID expressed its thanks to WFP and the Logistics Cluster for organizing the passenger vessel (Vittoria) and the cargo ship (Anamcara) and which is serving Beirut and Tyre from Cyprus.
- The EU Civil Protection team will be leaving Cyprus.
The next meeting will be held on Thursday August 24, 2006 at 03:00 pm at the San Remo Hotel, William Shakespeare #1, Larnaca