Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

News Middle East crisis

Humanitarian corridors are critical for aid

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 27 July 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:217

Rapid Response:

Crisis in Lebanon – A Country under Siege

So far everybody has been aware of the war ravaging our country
Lebanon. Besides the casualties that have so far exceeded 700 dead and
more than 2000 injured, a more serious problem or disaster is looming in
the near future. With more than a million person displaced from their
homes and living in miserable sanitary conditions (in schools, or even in
parks), it is pretty certain that all sorts of epidemics will soon spread
among these people. We at the American University of Beirut Medical
center, one of the largest teaching medical centers in Lebanon, are doing
the best we can to provide essential primary health care services to the
centers for the displaced in Beirut. However the scary problem that we
will soon face is the lack of fuel to run the hospital. With a complete
embargo since 3 weeks on the supply of fuel to the country, we are left
with only around 10 days of power supply, and a real fear that we will
have to close the hospital soon. Our hospital has been the main provider
of emergency health care throughout the wars that have ravaged our country
in the last 30 years, and has never closed its doors throughout this

Although currently aid is pouring to the country through the humanitarian
corridors, however the lack of energy supplies will shut down most of the
hospitals in the coming two weeks and with no foreseeable end to the
military conflict in the near future, the country will soon be facing a
major health disaster.

Therefore we urge the medical communities around the world, and solely on
the basis of humanitarian grounds, to do whatever is possible to help us
face this potential crisis.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

02 August 2006
Imad Uthman
Associate Professor
Ali Taher
American University of Beirut Medical Center