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Humanitarian aid effort picks up pace

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Humanitarian aid effort picks up pace


In Lebanon, convoys of vehicles carrying humanitarian aid are making their way south, taking food, water, tents and fuel to the torrent of returning refugees. Relief organisations said the arrival of the Lebanese army and repairs to bridges have eased their task.

It is thought that as many as 600,000 of the just under one million displaced people have either returned or will do so next week. Hundreds of tonnes of aid from France and Italy are also arriving. A cargo ship carrying provisions, including ambulances and other vehicles has docked in Beirut, with supplies destined for the south and the capital where large swathes lie in ruins, levelled by weeks of Israeli bombardments.

Work has begun on shifting the mountains of concrete in shattered suburbs in the south of Beirut. And in a further sign that the situation has turned the corner, Beirut International Airport has re-opened to commercial flights. A Middle East Airlines plane – Lebanon’s flag carrier – touched down from Jordan. The airport has been shut to all but deliveries of aid since 13 July, when Israel bombed the runways. Only one is operational. This means the air blockade is effectively over, although goods are still not permitted to arrive by sea.

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