The conflict in Lebanon which began on July 12 and continued for 34 days left many people without shelter, food, water and other basic necessities. The crisis was worsened by the increasing difficulty of bringing cargo into the country since the roads from Syria into Lebanon were hit by heavy air strikes, making road convoy trips long and dangerous, and a sea and air blockade prevented commercial vessels from importing goods. In order to ensure that relief items could reach those in need, the Logistics Cluster established a presence in Larnaca, Cyprus to coordinate the movement of humanitarian aid into Lebanon. Initially, transport was provided by government aircraft and vessels, in particular those donated by France and Greece. Then, as a more regular influx of goods into Cyprus began, WFP chartered a vessel, the Anamcara, to provide the bulk of all humanitarian Common Cargo Transport into Beirut.
The M/V Anamcara was a "Ro-Ro" (roll-on-roll-off) vessel, meaning she was equipped with a ramp for vehicle loading. She had a 3,000 MT capacity and was able to carry containers and bulk liquids such as fuel. A 40m3 refrigerated container was also provided for the transport "cold chain" cargo such as vaccines. Cargo from Cyprus generally flowed into Larnaca airport and was then transported to Limassol 45-minutes down the coast for passage on the Anamcara. Notification was provided by UNJLC, and the process of loading was done under the supervision of WFP and UNJLC representatives.
The Anamcara made her first sailing on Saturday, August 12th, carrying food, medical supplies, shelter items and fuel. Over the course of her service to the Logistics Cluster she made five rotations between Cyprus and Beirut, one of which also stopped at Tyre, as well as two trips which sailed from Mersin, Turkey. In all she carried 5,934 MT of humanitarian supplies into Lebanon for users including WHO, UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, ICRC, MSF, DFID, the Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Russian Embassy, World Vision, IMC, Samaritan's Purse and the Rotary Club.
As of 8/9/06, the sea blockade on Lebanon was lifted as international peacekeeping troops assumed position to patrol the coastline. Commercial traffic has begun once again. The need for a Logistics Cluster vessel has therefore ended since humanitarian goods can now come directly into Beirut. The Anamcara completed her final sailing to Beirut yesterday (12/09/06) with a cargo of 209 MT of hygiene kits, food kits and baby food for CRS/Caritas alongside 7 MT of medical supplies and ambulances for the Hariri Foundation.
Head of UNJLC Cyprus Jacob Agersnap commented, "The Anamcara was an essential part of our mission here. Without her we wouldn't have had the same assurance that a steady supply of relief goods would always reach Lebanon. We had a constant stream of humanitarian supplies entering Cyprus for passage to Beirut. On one sailing from Mersin then Limassol, we had so much to take weren't even sure all the goods would fit, despite the Anamcara's huge capacity. But we couldn't accept seeing any of it left on shore for the next sailing, so we worked until we found a solution and we finally got it all in.
"However the cargo has now slowed to a trickle, which is excellent since it's a sign that goods can now enter Lebanon without our assistance. It also means the local economy can start rebuilding and that's the most encouraging thing of all. I think we've done a good job here, and now its time for us to hand things over."
The German Air Force C160s tasked by UNHAS will operate until the end of this week to transport some last additional cargo which has now arrived in Cyprus, and these will remain available to take any final items which should arrive. After this date, the Logistics Cluster in Beirut will remain available to assist users with alternative options of transportation.