UN agency warns that lack of funds could halt aid to Lebanon

With 60,000 displaced Lebanese already having crossed the border back to their homes since Monday, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today appealed for more funds, warning that emergency aid to the almost one million people displaced by the recent fighting could stop unless more international assistance is forthcoming.WFP, which is responsible for moving humanitarian relief supplies into and within Lebanon for all UN agencies and their partners, as well as providing inter-agency telecommunications support, has so far received only $19.2 million of the $39.5 million it requires for its three-month operation, leaving a shortfall of 47 per cent.“We are now seeing hundreds of thousands of people returning to the south of the country and many more crossing the border from Syria. With the extent of the damage, many of them will find they have nothing left when they get home,” said Thomas Keusters, WFP head of logistics in Lebanon. “They will be relying on relief assistance for many weeks to come.”Around 200,000 people have returned to their home areas in Lebanon in the past three days, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today, reporting official Lebanese Government figures, adding however that less than half of the UN’s $165 million flash appeal for emergency aid has been committed so far. But despite the shortfall, WFP and other aid organisations have massively stepped up operations in Lebanon since the cessation of hostilities by both sides in the conflict came into effect on Monday, allowing access south of the Litani river for the first time in more than a week. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and WFP, along with volunteers from the Aga Khan Foundation and the Syrian Red Crescent Society, are working around-the-clock at the main border crossings, handing out food aid packages to the thousands of returnees to help them through their first days back in Lebanon, after weeks spent in public buildings in Syria.“It is reassuring that in spite of all the suffering they have been through and the uncertainty of what awaits them back home, they are filled with hope and excitement, keen to start rebuilding their lives,” said Pippa Bradford, WFP’s Representative in Syria. Two convoys carrying emergency aid also left Beirut this morning, one headed to the southern port city of Tyre and the other, sent by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), to Wavel Camp in Baalbek carrying food for some 5,000 residents, OCHA said in a press release.“A UN-chartered ship also left Beirut for Tyre this morning, carrying food, medical supplies, drinking water and fuel. Part of that fuel will be used to supply hospitals. Meanwhile, a plane chartered by the UN refugee agency arrived in Beirut from Amman today with tents, mattresses and other relief supplies,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.Also on the humanitarian front, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners are distributing tens of thousands of leaflets and warning people through radio and television broadcasts of the danger of unexploded munitions left after the fighting, as these represent perhaps the most immediate danger awaiting the Lebanese returnees.It is estimated that 10 per cent of munitions fired during the 34-day conflict have not been detonated and many may lie dormant in schools, hospitals and houses, with the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) already reporting several incidents, including the death of a child in Tyre, caused by unexploded munitions.“Children are more vulnerable to the danger because they are attracted to things and pick them up, they know less and they are more compact than adults and closer to the ground – so any explosion impacts them more greatly,” said UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes, Dan Toole, speaking from New York.According to the UN Interim Mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the National De-mining Office, approximately 2,600 pieces of ordnance – artillery rounds, missiles, and bombs – were fired every day into Lebanon during the conflict and around 8,000 to 9,000 pieces could remain unexploded. read more

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Xstrata buys Billitons Tintaya

first_imgMany showed interest, including Rio Tinto, Southern Copper, Phelps Dodge and even Milpo. However, it is Xstrata that has acquired the Tintaya mine and associated satellite deposits in Peru from BHP Billiton. The acquisition price of $750 million comprises an initial cash consideration of $634 million and the assumption of $116 million of debt. An agreed price participation arrangement may result in further deferred cash payments to BHP Billiton and will be based on prevailing copper prices upon completion of the transaction. At current prices these payments would total approximately $60 million.Two further conditional deferred payments of US$25 million each in cash may also be payable to BHP Billiton. The first such amount will be payable in July 2009 if the LME copper price exceeds certain levels from July 2008 to June 2009. The second amount will be payable if either of the Antapaccay or Coroccohuayco satellite deposits are developed prior to 2020. The aggregate consideration payable by Xstrata is subject to a cap.The acquisition will expand Xstrata Copper’s current production portfolio with an additional 120,000 t/y of copper in cathode and concentrate. The company also says “Tintaya will also provide [it] with a unique opportunity to strengthen the [its] strategic position in southern Peru.” Together with Xstrata Copper’s existing copper business in Argentina (Minera Alumbrera which is managed and 50% owned by Xstrata), Tintaya will consolidate Xstrata’s position as a significant Latin American copper producer. Xstrata is also working on Las Bambas, a deposit lying at an elevation of 4,000-4,650 m in an isolated spot in southern Peru’s Apurimac department, one of the country’s poorest areas. Here it expects to “substantially” increase the initial resource above a recently published indicated and inferred resource of 300 Mt grading 1.1% Cu, plus molybdenum and gold values. Xstrata is engaged in the completion of a feasibility study of the project within a six year period, and has budgeted $24 million for Las Bambas in 2006. Xstrata Copper Chief Executive Charlie Sartain said the Tintaya acquisition was an important step in the execution of the business unit’s growth strategy. “One of our strategic objectives is to become a recognised leader in the copper industry. Profitable growth through acquisitions such as this will continue our rapid progress towards that objective,” he said. “Latin America will be a key part of this growth. Our current focus is on developing a significant operating division in southern Peru and continuing to extend our operations in Argentina based around the Alumbrera copper-gold mine.”Mr Sartain also emphasised Xstrata Copper’s commitment to the agreements that BHP Billiton has in place with the communities surrounding Tintaya. “We have a strong track record in working in partnership with local communities for mutual benefit in the remote locations where we operate. In relation to Tintaya we will continue to honour the commitments previously made to local communities and look forward to working together with local stakeholders through the formal dialogue processes that have been established.”It is expected that the Tintaya transaction will be completed within the next two months.last_img read more

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