International Committee of the Red Cross in Lebanon

ICRC in Lebanon

The ICRC has more than 80 delegations across the globe and a total of over 12 000 staff members. Its activity in Lebanon dates back to 1967, and more precisely following the influx of Palestinian refugees after the Six-Day War between Israel and its neighboring Arab countries. The several conflicts that broke out in Lebanon afterwards entailed a permanent presence of the delegation on Lebanese territory.

The size of the ICRC in Lebanon varies depending on the context, growing in times of armed conflicts and wars and shrinking in times of relative stability. During the 2006 War, around 300 ICRC expatriate delegates were summoned into Lebanon within 2 weeks, in addition to a large number of local employees. Historically, the ICRC operation in Lebanon reached its peak at the beginning of the Civil War in 1975, during the 1982 Israeli Invasion and amid the Nahr El-Bared crisis in 2007. In such cases, the ICRC activates its Rapid Deployment Unit to mobilize additional resources for the emergency response. Below is a glimpse of the most recent ICRC’s operational activities in Lebanon.

ICRC Activities in Lebanon

Missing Persons and their Families

Since the start of the Civil War, thousands of Lebanese are missing and their families still remain unsure about their present whereabouts. In a bid to help families get in touch with their relatives and loved ones, the ICRC has launched a project aimed at collecting pre-disappearance data about the missing persons in order to facilitate their identification process in the future. Families were encouraged to get in touch with the delegation and register for an interview to provide relevant information that could be of use in tracing the missing people. By the end of 2012, detailed information had been received on 612 missing persons and a complementary project to collect biological reference samples for DNA testing is in the pipeline. The project has been carried out in full cooperation and agreement with the Lebanese authorities.

Syrian Refugees

The ICRC has also been active in addressing the plight of Syrian refugees who continue to flee into Lebanon in unprecedented numbers. Between January and June this time, the delegation’s intervention facilitated the evacuation and transfer as well as covering the cost of treatment of 636 wounded Syrians in Lebanese hospitals in cooperation with the Lebanese Red Cross, the provision of medical kits and sets for treatment of war injuries to 8 medical facilities and the distribution of food rations, hygiene items and medical and household supplies to over 24,000 refugees in areas where immediate humanitarian attention was not delivered, including more than 12,000 Palestinians who fled violence in Syria. The ICRC’s operation also included the financing of a temporary EMS station in Ras Baalbeck to facilitate the medical evacuation process and the monetary support of the LRC blood bank to meet the growing demand for blood. Specialized training was offered for staff at the hosting hospitals.

In this context, it is important to point out that the ICRC continues to extend unrelenting support to its main national partner, the Lebanese Red Cross, by financing the renovation of its EMS stations, providing training sessions to personnel, ensuring the maintenance of ambulances and offering IT and medical equipment.

Visiting Detainees

In 2012, ICRC delegates conducted a series of visits to the interrogation centers and prisons of the Ministries of Interior and Defense in order to improve the conditions of inmates and ensure an appropriate prison environment for their well-being and mental and physical health. The ICRC shared its recommendations with the concerned authorities and ministries and the judiciary. It is worthwhile noting that the ICRC has completed the project it had initiated to renovate the water system in Roumieh, Lebanon’s largest detention facility. First aid training and medical assistance were donated by ICRC to the staff of the Roumieh Medical Center.

In its capacity as a neutral intermediary, the ICRC has repatriated 15 civilians and the mortal remains of six deceased Lebanese from Israel in 2012. The Lebanese Army handed an Israeli who had crossed into Lebanon earlier this May to the ICRC who delivered him to the Israeli Army.


The ICRC has an annual exercise of budgeting known as planning for results. Each delegation analyzes its context, lays forth scenarios of possible developments and submits its budget accordingly. In cases of unforeseen violence that requires non-budgeted additional costs, the ICRC makes emergency appeals in order to finance its operations and thus being able to respond to large-scale emergencies. 

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