How to Help Lebanon

    The Red Cross is by far the most prominent international organization operating in Lebanon.  The International Committee of the Red Cross was formed in Switzerland in 1863.  The sole objective of the International Committee of the Red Cross was to ensure protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and strife.  It does so through its direct action around the world, as well as by encouraging the development of the international humanitarian law and by promoting respect for it by governments and all weapon bearers.  Henry Dunant, a Swiss man who published a book calling for the improved care of wounded soldiers during wartime, was one of the main proponents of the Red Cross.  With support of the government, the first Geneva Convention was held in 1864.  The convention called for the obligation of armies to care for wounded soldiers, regardless of what country they fought for.  It also introduced the Red Cross logo as the universal symbol for medical servies that is still used today.  At first the Red Cross was just involved in coordinating medical services, but it eventually became involved in field operations as a neutral intermediary between belligerents.
    During the first World War, the Red Cross opened up a central prisoners of war agency in Geneva to restore links between cpatured soldiers and their families.  Many prisoners were visited by the Red Cross, and their wounds were examined.  After seeing the terrifying effects of mustard gas on soldiers from both sides, the Red Cross renounced its use in 1918.  Later on in the war, the Red Cross was operating ambulances and hospitals on the battlefield to care for wounded soldiers.  Many considered this the finest hour in their brief history.  After World War I, the Red Cross was able to make a new Geneva Convention that was adopted by many countries, which provided greater protection for prisoners of war.  However, they were unable to come to an agreement on the protection of civilians before the atrocities of World War II.  During World War II the Red Cross saw a huge expansion of activity as they tried to work to assist victims on both sides.
    The Lebanese Red Cross is a humanitarian organization that was established on July 9, 1945.  By 1946, it was recognized by the state as a public non-profit organization and as an auxiliary team to the medical service of the Lebanese army. 
    Since 1945, the Red Cross has continued to urge governments to respect and strengthen international humanitarian law.  It has sought to deal with the humanitarian conflicts of the 20th century, starting with Israel and Palestine.  In 1949, three existing conventions were revised. They were covering wounded and sick on the battlefield, victims of war at sea, and prisoners of war.  
    They also added another convention protecting civilians under enemy control.  In 1977, two Protocols to the Conventions were adopted, the first applicable to international armed conflicts, the second to internal ones – a major breakthrough. The Protocols also laid down rules concerning the conduct of hostilities.
    The Lebanese Red Cross has been very active throughout the country.  They help out with victims of shootings and attacks using their volunteer doctors and blood banks.  They also send out crews to identify mine fields and mark them off so people don't wander onto them and blow up.  They also support educational services and youth activities to ensure a brighter future for Lebanon.   
    There are multiple ways to help the Lebanese Red Cross if you wish to do so.  One of the most direct ways is to volunteer directly through the Lebanese Red Cross website.  You can volunteer to be on first aid teams, help in youth departments, as a trainer, as a teacher, as a doctor, as a blood bank worker, and as a mine awareness specialist.  Another way to help out the Lebanese Red Cross is to donate, either through the website online or offline.
    Unicef is the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are realized. They also have a large presence in Lebanon.  They have the global authority to influence decision makers and the variety of partners at grassroots level to turn the most innovative ideas into reality.  They are unique among world organizations, and unique among those working with the young.  They believe that nurturing and caring for children are the cornerstones for human progress.  They want to help children overcome poverty, disease, violence, and discrimination.  They promote girls’ education , ensuring that they complete primary education as a minimum because it benefits all children, both girls and boys. Girls who are educated grow up to become better thinkers, better citizens, and better parents to their own children.  They act so that all children are immunized against common childhood diseases, and are well nourished, because it is wrong for a child to suffer or die from a preventable illness.

    They work to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among young people because it is right to keep them from harm and enable them to protect others. They help children and families affected by HIV/AIDS to live their lives with dignity.  They involve everyone in creating protective environments for children. They are present to relieve suffering during emergencies, and wherever children are threatened, because no child should be exposed to violence, abuse or exploitation.  Unicef upholds the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  They  work to assure equality for those who are discriminated against, girls and women in particular. They work for the Millennium Development Goals and for the progress promised in the United Nations Charter. They strive for peace and security. They work to hold everyone accountable to the promises made for children.
    They are active in more than 190 countries and territories through country programmes and National Committees. They are also known as the united children's fund.
    Unicef plays a similar role to the Red Cross but they solely focused on helping children.  Recently, they provided aid to Lebanese children who are facing winter storms without adequate food and shelter.  Many of them are refugees and also have various respiratory infections.  They have distributed over 5000 kits containing warm clothes to children in the hard to reach places in eastern Lebanon.  That brought the total up to 74,603, with a total of 153,000 expected to be delivered by the end of the month.  UNICEF is also supporting the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health by distributing medical supplies that help the treatment of respiratory infections and diarrhea that affect nearly 10,000 refugees.
    UNICEF is also providing over 350 schools across the coldest parts of Lebanon with fuel to heat classrooms during the cold winter months, bringing the number of children reached with UINCEF’s winterization activities to 241,750 across Lebanon.