In recent weeks, Lebanon has witnessed a significant internal displacement of over 19,000 people, as reported by the United Nations migration agency (IOM). These displacements have been spurred by escalating tensions near the Israel-Lebanon border following the Israel-Hamas war outbreak.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) began tracking these movements on October 8, coinciding with an assault by Hamas fighters on Israel and the subsequent Israeli offensive in Gaza. The IOM’s data revealed that most of the displaced individuals have fled from southern Lebanon, with others originating from different areas.
As cross-border tensions persist, IOM spokesperson Mohammed Ali Abunajela anticipates that these numbers will rise. The situation is further complicated by the deteriorating economic conditions and increased poverty affecting various populations in Lebanon. These internal displacements place additional stress on host communities, already grappling with limited resources.
Many of those displaced from southern Lebanon have sought refuge in Tyre, a coastal city located 18 kilometers (11 miles) from the border. Inaya Ezzeddine, a Tyre lawmaker, expressed concerns about the strain this exodus is placing on families accommodating the displaced and the Lebanese government, which is grappling with a severe economic crisis.
Ezzeddine noted, “This war is happening amid a very big economic crisis, and people don’t have provisions.” Around 6,000 individuals have sought refuge in Tyre, and three schools have been repurposed to provide shelter for some of them. However, she added, “We cannot open all schools because schools are still operating. Every school we open [for the displaced], we’re depriving its pupils from using it.”
These events have raised concerns over the possibility of armed groups joining the conflict in support of Hamas. Specifically, analysts warn of the potential escalation of involvement by Hezbollah, an Iran-backed group based in southern Lebanon, if Israel proceeds with a ground invasion of Gaza.
The situation remains fluid and poses a severe humanitarian challenge in an already fragile region.
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