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The Lebanese Red Cross opens Tebnine First Aid Center
From Ali Saad, the communication Coordinator in South Lebanon:

The Lebanese Red Cross opened a new three floor first aid center in Tebnine (South Lebanon) after continuing its building and equipping by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The opening was attended by Deputy Ali Bazzi, the Major General Rafic Hammoud, Bent Jbeil district Commissioner Mr. Ibrahim Darwich, officers from the UNIFEL Forces, the Commander of the western sector Colonel Paulo De Rodgero, officers from the Qatari, Belgium and French forces, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Lebanon Mr. Jordi Raich, the head of the Delegation of the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies Mrs. Anne Catherine Moore Carlsin, the President of the Lebanese Red Cross Sheikh Sami El Dahdah, the Vice-President Walid Kebbi, members of the Executive and Central Committee, heads of local committees, directors of departments, chiefs and volunteers from the first aid teams, religious, social, cultural, health, and educational figures in Bint Jbeil district, representations from friendly local and international associations.

The opening ceremony was started with the Lebanese national anthem, Lebanese Red Cross anthem followed by standing a moment of silence in the memory of the martyrs of the Lebanese Red Cross. Afterwards, the communication Coordinator of South Lebanon Mr. Ali Saad talked about the giving of the volunteers of the Lebanese Red Cross and considered them messengers who always work from the heart of catastrophe.

The Chief of the operation room in South Lebanon Mr. Mohamad Makki talked about "the history of the establishment of the Tebnine center and its development and widening of its humanitarian activities especially during the last war especially in South Lebanon. He thanked those who supported and contributed to the development of this center until reaching this civilized condition.

Then, Dr. Darwich emphasized the humanitarian and the noble role of the volunteers of the Lebanese Red Cross allover the Lebanese territories and in South Lebanon particularly. He added: "they sacrifice their souls for others to survive". Mr. Raich emphasized in his speech on: "the role of the International Committee of the Red Cross in supporting the Lebanese Red Cross Society and activating and equipping its centers." He described the difficulties that occurred during July 2006 like the shelling on the convoys of the Lebanese Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross and the suffering of civilians from remnants of war like cluster bombs and unexploded bombs. Sheikh El Dahdah referred to the humanitarian interference of the volunteers in the Lebanese Red Cross during the July war and Nahr El Bared incidents which makes them heroes who deserve to be honored by the local and international organizations and bodies. He called them "the heroes of humanity". Also, Sheikh El Dahdah introduced the Lebanese Red Cross Society and its commitment to the humanitarian principles aiming at supporting the vulnerable human in all circumstances.

The attendants headed to cut the ribbon and then visited the sections of the three floor center that includes a developed operations room.

A film was introduced during the ceremony which included photos of volunteers under the Israeli military attacks during the July war and the difficulties they faced during their humanitarian work.

This project is listed within the agenda of supporting the Lebanese Red Cross in executing the strategy of the first aid service in the Society in order to enhance the readiness to face any emergency. The International Committee of the Red Cross has financed the construction of the center through 150 thousands American dollars approximately.

Historical summary About Tebnine First Aid Center

The First Aid Center in Tebnine was established in 1981 and was a part of Tebnine governmental hospital building. After the widening of the first aid activities of the Lebanese Red Cross and because of the military incidents in South Lebanon, an operation and coordination room was added to the center in 1992. Now, it supervises 11 first aid centers including about 500 first aiders and 50 ambulances and transport cars. Tebnine First Aid Center includes 50 first aiders and 6 equipped ambulances. In 2001, and with the help of the people of the region, 50.000 dollars of the fiscal and in kind donations were collected. This enabled the Lebanese Red Cross to construct a three floor building as a first stage ended in 2003.

Tebnine First Aid Center was a target of Israeli attacks on Lebanon in July 2006. Two ambulances were completely damaged and another three ambulances were partially damaged. Also, 5 first aiders were injured during the rescue missions. The International Committee of the Red Cross supported the Lebanese Red Cross in several programs, showing commitment in supporting the first aid programs in order to meet the strategy of the first aid teams of the Society to enable them to answer the calls and render the required services in high efficiency. The International Committee also financed the construction of the center and equipped it by an amount of 150.000 dollars approximately.

Photo: Cutting the opening tape
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