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UN to ask global community for Lebanon aid

india Updated: Aug 31, 2006 12:01 IST

The United Nations will ask the international community to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars at the pledging conference in Stockholm for recovery and reconstruction of Lebanon and to stem the fast deteriorating humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

More than 90 million dollars have already been pledged but Lebanon is seeking hundreds of million of dollars more to meet the massive rebuilding challenge, UN top humanitarian official Jan Egeland said addressing a press conference here.

Replying to a question, he said so far relief efforts have been remarkable, considering that never before the world has seen two and half million people displaced from their homes within two and a half weeks.

But now 75 per cent have returned to their homes though they face massive problems as houses have been destroyed and large areas lack basic facilities.

Some 250,000 people would not be able to move back into the houses that had been destroyed or were affected by unexploded ordnance, he said.

In a brief reference to Sri Lanka, he said that the conflict there had deepened while all eyes were on Lebanon.

"Today, 37.5 million dollars are needed to meet the needs of 220,000 newly displaced people in Sri Lanka."

Describing Gaza a "ticking bomb" that could lead to "social explosion", Egeland criticised Israel for sealing off the area.

Stating that the Palestinian areas are in a "deep crisis", he criticised Israel for sealing off the area.

"You cannot seal off an area which a little bigger than the city of Stockholm, has 1.4 million people of whom 800,000 are youth and children and then have 200 artillery shells go in there virtually every day, seal off border," he said.

Nobody visiting Gaza could avoid the fact that it was totally untenable situation, he said.

"On top of that, we don't have money," he said.

The previous humanitarian appeal had brought in only 40 per cent of the 385 million dollars that were required for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, he added and expressed the hope that more money would be forthcoming in Stockholm and that there would be full diplomatic support for "a fresh look at the situation".

The pledging conference is being held in Stockholm today and tomorrow.