This came as International Development Secretary, Hilary Benn, warned of growing humanitarian crises in both the Lebanon and in the Gaza Strip.
In a written statement to Parliament, Mr Benn noted that the humanitarian situation was deteriorating in both areas, and would continue to worsen unless there was an end to the violence. Mr Benn said:
”A humanitarian crisis is developing in the Middle East as a direct result of the violence. Insecurity is continuing, casualties are rising, and damage to vital infrastructure is affecting sanitation and the health of civilians.
”In Lebanon, insecurity and damaged infrastructure are making it difficult to reach the vast number of people in need of medical care, food and water; with at least half a million estimated by the UN to be displaced in southern Lebanon. I support proposals by the UN and International Committee of the Red Cross for safe humanitarian access, but ultimately the security situation needs to stabilise in order to ensure that vital assistance can get where it is needed.
”Today’s announcement will ensure funds are readily available to combat this unfolding crisis.”
Mr Benn continued:
”After the attack on their only power station, the people of Gaza have lost reliable access to water for drinking and personal hygiene, and cases of diarrhoea are reported to have increased by half. Electricity is vital to keep hospitals running and preserve drugs to treat the rising number of casualties and the sick.
”The conflict is a tragedy for the people in the Middle East. Violence is no way forward.”
Last week, the UK Government provided an initial £2 million towards humanitarian relief in Lebanon. The UK stands ready to do more as needed.