Sweden gives millions in Lebanon aid

Sweden said on Monday it was giving a total of 40.5 million kronor in humanitarian aid to Lebanon, and the foreign ministry said more aid could be announced this week.

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) said it would respond to a UN appeal for humanitarian aid by donating 20 million kronor.

“The need for food, water and health care is enormous, as well as protection for the more than 700,000 people who have fled their homes,” the head of Sida’s humanitarian unit, Per Byman, said in a statement.

The 20 million would be channeled through Unicef, the UN refugee agency UNHCR and the World Health Organisation, Sida said.

A further 16.5 million kronor has been donated to the Swedish Rescue Services Agency, 13 million of which was in response to a direct request from the World Food Programme to help establish a humanitarian aid corridor. The remainder, 3.5 million, will go towards minesweeping operations in Lebanon.

The Swedish branches of Save the Children and the Red Cross have also received a total of four million Swedish kronor to help with their efforts in Lebanon, Sida said.

A spokesman for Swedish Development Aid Minister Carin Jaemtin, John Zanchi, told Swedish news agency TT that the Scandinavian country may announce further aid donations later this week.

Foreign Minister Jan Eliasson said last week that Stockholm was prepared to contribute “hundreds of millions of kronor” to Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.