Rainbow Warrior delivers MSF aid to Beirut

Feature story - August 7, 2006
The Rainbow Warrior has returned to Larnaca, Cyprus, after its second trip to Beirut delivering a total of 60 tonnes of urgently needed humanitarian supplies on behalf of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). A further hundred tonnes are still scheduled to be transported.

Rainbow Warrior arrives in Beirut with supplies for the MSF humanitarian mission to Lebanon.

MSF was planning to ship some 180 tonnes from Larnaca to Lebanon, butwas experiencing serious difficulties in finding reliabletransportation since very few boats are willing to sail to Lebanongiven the conflict. This why we offered the use of the Rainbow Warrior,which was already in the Mediterranean. However, delivery to Beirut isonly the first step in an arduous journey to those in need. (For moreabout the work of MSF in Lebanon and other parts of the worldgo to www.msf.org).

"MSF is pleased to have drugs, medical supplies, baby milk and reliefgoods transported to Beirut by the Rainbow Warrior, however, this isonly the first step", said Bart Rijs, of MSF in Beirut. "Our teams willhave to get these supplies from the harbour to the people who need themmost: to the displaced, but also to those who remain in the south.MSF's teams will try to bring supplies to the hospitals and to thepeople in the areas were the bombardment and the fighting are theworst."

Not designed for cargo transport, the Rainbow Warrior has capacity fortransporting 40 tonnes, equivalent to 105 pallets. The trip fromLarnaca to Beirut takes around 16 hours. In total each trip takes some35 hours, including up to 3 hours to off load in Beirut. To minimizesecurity risk the Israeli and the Lebanese authorities are informed ofeach crossing.

It is not yet clear how many more rotations the Rainbow Warrior will make for MSF.

Médecins Sans Frontières has over 40 international staff running fixedand mobile clinics, supplying hospitals and clinics with drugs, anddelivering relief goods in areas that are severely affected by theconflict. Reaching the most affected populations with the aid continuesto be a major challenge.