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.
MSF was planning to ship some 180 tonnes from Larnaca to Lebanon, but was experiencing serious difficulties in finding reliable transportation since very few boats are willing to sail to Lebanon given the conflict. This why Greenpeace offered the use of the Rainbow Warrior, which was already in the Mediterranean. However, delivery to Beirut is only the first step in an arduous journey to those in need.
"MSF is pleased to have drugs, medical supplies, baby milk and relief goods transported to Beirut by the Rainbow Warrior, however, this is only the first step," said Bart Rijs, of MSF in Beirut. "Our teams will have to get these supplies from the harbour to the people who need them most: 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 the people in the areas were the bombardment and the fighting are the worst."
Not designed for cargo transport, the Rainbow Warrior has capacity for transporting 40 tonnes, equivalent to 105 pallets. The trip from Larnaca to Beirut takes around 16 hours. In total each trip takes some 35 hours, including up to three hours to off load in Beirut. To minimize security risk the Israeli and the Lebanese authorities are informed of each crossing. It is not yet clear how many more rotations the Rainbow Warrior will make for MSF.
MSF has over 40 international staff running fixed and mobile clinics, supplying hospitals and clinics with drugs, and delivering relief goods in areas that are severely affected by the conflict. Reaching the most affected populations with the aid continues to be a major challenge.