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 FAQ

 Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Communication Unit 

 

 

·         What governmental institutions are represented in the High Relief Commission?

As stipulated in ministerial decision No 93/30, issued on August 2nd, 1993, the High Relief Commission is presided by the Prime Minister and made up of members in the persons of the Ministers of Defense, Health, Social Affairs, Interior, Finance, Public Works, Energy and Housing. The High Relief Commission’s members also include the Director Generals of Social Affairs, Council of the South, and the Fund for the Displaced, and representatives from the ISF and the Lebanese Army.

 

·         How does it operate on a day-to-day basis?

The High Relief Commission is managed by its Secretary General, General Yehya Raad.

Its finances are controlled by Mr. Muhieddine Dandachli, a permanent staff member of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

The High Relief Commission does not employ people. All those working for it are public servants working in various governmental administrations.

 

·         Are its accounts audited?

The High Relief Commission’s accounts are audited both internally and externally.

The internal auditor, who is appointed by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, co-signs all spending orders issued.

The external auditors of the High Relief Commission issue regular end-of-year reports.

Furthermore, the High Relief Commission is planning to also have its accounts audited by a renowned international firm, thus benefiting from both a local and an international expertise.

 

·         Will there be a retroactive auditing?

Yes. Two auditors with expertise from international reputable firms are assisting the High Relief Commission in auditing its accounts for the period starting July 12th until present. They have already started this mission and will be pursuing it for three months, starting October 1st and ending December 31st, 2006.

 

·         How much money has been spent so far on relief?

More than LL 32 Billion have been spent by the High Relief Commission to date (July 12-September 30, 2006). This amount is subject to extremely detailed book-keeping and accounting procedures. All expenditures are documented by category, item and unit. The financial controller archives all purchasing orders, payments issued and related invoices and is responsible for the reconciliation of accounts.

 

·         What has the money been spent on?

The money has been spent on various sectors related to relief, ranging from food needs to transport of personnel & equipment, mattresses, blankets, packing material and childcare products among others. Food parcels and hot meals represent the largest portion of expenditures at LL 26 Billion (amounting to just over 80% of the total expenditure figure).

 

·         Some advance payments were issued by way of cheques in the names of government representatives at the early stages of the Israeli aggression in order to facilitate relief efforts. What is the status on those payments advanced?

All those who have received such advance payments are requested to present all invoices and receipts associated to the amounts which they have spent for approval by the financial controllers of the High Relief Commission.

In case of any unspent balance, recipients are required to return the amount in cash to the High Relief Commission’s financial controllers. This money is then deposited back into the High Relief Commission’s bank account.

Some recipients of such advance payments have presented justifications and full documentation of the expenditures of the advanced amounts to the High Relief Commission financial controller. Those who haven’t are currently in the process of doing so, and should finalize matters within weeks.

 

·         How many people were issued such cheques?

Beneficiaries of such advance payments were Secretary General of High Relief Commission, Mohafez of the North, Mohafez of the Bekaa, Mohafez of the South, Mohafez of Nabatyeh, Caimacam of Metn, Caimacam of Jbeil, Caimacam of Kesrouan, Caimacam of Chouf, Caimacam of Aley, the Lebanese Army, Director of Water for South Lebanon, Director of Water for Bekaa, and Minister of Health.

 

·         Status on amounts advanced to each recipient is detailed in the following table, as communicated by the High Relief Commission’s financial controller:

 

Recipient

Amount advanced in LL Million

Amount spent and audited by way of invoices and receipts

Balance paid back in cash

Financial controller status

Secretary General of High Relief Commission

900

LL 168 Million

LL 732 Million

Cleared and approved

Mohafez of the North

100

-

Full amount

Cleared and approved

Mohafez of the Bekaa

300

Pending

Pending

Pending

Mohafez of the South

600

Full amount

-

Cleared and approved

Mohafez of Nabatyeh

300

Pending

Pending

Pending

Caimacam of Metn

125

LL 75 Million

LL 50 Million

Cleared and approved

Caimacam of Jbeil

275

Pending

Pending

Pending

Caimacam of Kesrouan

25

LL 11 Million

LL 14 Million

Cleared and approved

Caimacam of Chouf

300

Pending

Pending

Pending

Caimacam of Aley

400

LL 236 Million

LL 164 Million

Cleared and approved

Lebanese Army

170

Pending

Pending

Pending

Director of Water for South Lebanon

500

Full amount

-

Cleared and approved

Director of Water for Bekaa

200

Pending

Pending

Pending

Minister of Health

500

Pending

Pending

Pending

Minister of Energy

800

Pending

Pending

Pending

 

·         How much money has been spent so far by the High Relief Commission?

More than LL 63 Billion (equivalent to approximately USD 42 Million) have been spent by the High Relief Commission to date (July 12-October 20, 2006).

 

·         How is the spending of these amounts controlled?

All advance payments were made through the High Relief Commission bank account.

All beneficiaries are held responsible for presenting justifications and full documentation of the expenditures of the advanced amounts to the High Relief Commission financial controller. 

 

·         What are the current prerogatives of the High Relief Commission?

Over and above the ongoing relief assistance in the form of food distribution, the High Relief Commission is pursuing compensation & assistance to families of martyrs, the wounded, those whose houses have been totally or partially destroyed, and the fishermen community. Furthermore, the High Relief Commission is also involved in the rehabilitation of schools, the reconstruction of public roads, bridges and airport runways, the recovery of damaged water systems, as well as rubble clearance. The High Relief Commission undertakes the above in collaboration with the concerned Ministries.

 

·         Is the government providing compensation to families whose homes were totally or partially destroyed by the Israeli aggression?

The High Relief Commission has started issuing first payments to residents from 9 villages (Janatta, Bestat, Knisse, Hmeiry, Malikiyeh, Yanouh, Berghlie, Deir Aamess in the Qaza of Tyre, and Alman in the Qaza of Marjeyoun) whose homes were damaged by the Israeli aggression. To date (October 28, 2006), 624 families whose homes were partially destroyed and 23 whose homes were totally destroyed have received the first of two payments, as per the mechanism detailed in Decision No 130/2006 from the Presidency of the Council of Ministers dated October 10th, 2006. These families had applied for compensation as per the mechanism announced by the Prime Minister, and first payments were issued on the basis of data collection and survey assessments undertaken by the various governmental institutions involved, followed by case-by-case verifications conducted by the High Relief Commission’s consultants Khatib & Alami. Cheques are issued by the High Relief Commission to the order of each of the applicants and are then processed to and distributed by the Council of the South.

 

For full details on the government’s evaluation and disbursement mechanisms of assistance for damages to housing and non-housing units resulting from the Israeli aggression between July 12 and August 14, 2006, please click here.

 

·         What about housing compensation to the remaining applicants?

As explained above, fund disbursement for housing has started, and will continue regularly, until all eligible applicants’ demands are met. Compensation will be disbursed in two-phased payments. According to our consultants, the government will have issued first payments to all eligible applicants within the coming three or four months.

 

·         How many homes have been affected by the Israeli aggression?

Early preliminary assessments undertaken by the government estimate that a total of more than 70,000 housing units have been affected. Severity factors range from totally destroyed (7500+ units), to a similar number of partially destroyed units, severely damaged (15,000+ units) and partially damaged (38,000+ units).

 

·         Has a compensation mechanism been finalized for Beirut Southern suburbs?

As previously communicated by the Prime Minister, owners of totally damaged homes in Beirut Southern suburbs will receive compensation amounting to LL 80 Million, disbursed in two payments. A detailed mechanism is currently under study by the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry for the Displaced, the Fund for the Displaced, the Council of the South, the Public Corporation for Housing (PCH) and the Consultants. Furthermore, given the complexity of co-ownership in Beirut Southern Suburbs, a special committee is looking into legal issues pertaining to the reconstruction of total or partial damages inflicted to homes by the July Israeli aggression, in order to facilitate the reconstruction process while allowing for exceptions to the laws normally regulating construction. This committee is presided by Judge Chukri Sader and made up of the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Environment, the concerned Mohafizin, the CDR, the Order of Engineers, the Cadastral Office, and the Commander of the Internal Security Forces. A draft bill has been developed and is currently in circulation for comments by committee members.

 

·         Are any of the people whose homes have been damaged or destroyed currently homeless?

Governmental institutions present on-the-ground have reported that there are no homeless people living on rubble or under tents. Most of the affected citizens have found themselves temporary lodging, or have been put up by friends or relatives.

 

·         What are the main concerns facing the parties involved in developing this mechanism?

This mechanism is being designed to give flexibility to those affected on condition that they do not pose any obstacles on the process of reconstruction to other owners and landlords. The objective is to provide solutions that offer residents the flexibility to relocate or rebuild, thus ensuring that those who choose not to rebuild or those who prefer to move do not hamper the will of other plot owners determined to undergo reconstruction efforts.

 

·         Who will be leading this process?

The High Relief Commission will be leading the compensation efforts, in coordination with other governmental institutions including the Council of the South, the Ministry of the Displaced and the Fund for the Displaced, along with other expert governmental consultants.

 

·         Has the government started distributing this financial assistance?

Damage assessment and physical survey are almost complete for all the affected areas. Citizens whose homes have been totally or partially destroyed will need to apply for assistance by providing the required documents to either of three governmental channels: the Council of the South, the Ministry for the Displaced or the Fund for the Displaced. Once they have submitted their declaration of damages and once the above-mentioned governmental institutions have verified the damage reports, assistance will be disbursed by the High Relief Commission according to a two-phase payment scheme. A detailed payment mechanism has been developed and was announced on 5/10/2006.

 

·         Has the government started working on removing the rubble resulting from the Israeli aggression?

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport is currently at work in more than 75 locations and employing more than 1500 machinery units to deal with the task of removing the immense amount of rubble resulting from the Israeli aggression. Up to early October, 95% of the rubble in the suburbs and 50% of 1.5 million m³ of rubble in the South had been removed.

 

·         The fishing community has been terribly affected by the oil spill. What has the government done to address their concerns?

The High Relief Commission has distributed nearly USD 1,000,000 in compensation to over 4800 fishermen so far. Payments have been made to the order of the Fishermen Syndicates in the various affected areas.

Moreover, the United Arab Emirates have set up a joint special fund with the High Relief Commission to assist Ouzai’s fishermen.

The Recovery & Reconstruction cell at the Presidency of Council of Minsiters has also been coordinating a UNDP-funded “recovery of fishermen’s livelihood project” amounting to USD 200,000

 

·         Some donor countries would like to dedicate their aid to specific affected sectors. How is the government planning to address that?

The Presidency of the Council of Ministers, in collaboration with Banque du Liban, has set up various sub-accounts for the High Relief Commission. These accounts operate as joint accounts between the High Relief Commission and the donor country, and may be exclusively committed towards specific sectors, ex. High Relief Commission –United Arab Emirates for assistance to Ouzai’s fishermen; High Relief Commission -Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development; High Relief Commission –Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Aid for School Fees… This mechanism has been developed to ensure transparency and optimal allocation of resources to the most affected communities and sectors.

 

·         Is the government providing compensation to the wounded and to families of people who were deceased because of the war?

Yes, the government has announced its compensation scheme for assistance to those who were wounded during the war, and to the families of those who were deceased during the war. LL 15,000,000 will be paid by the High Relief Commission to those who were wounded, upon presentation of the required documents. Compensation to families of the deceased will amount to LL 20,000,000 for those above 10 years old, and LL 10,000,000 for those under 10 years old.

 

·         When will the High Relief Commission start paying compensation?

The High Relief Commission has started disbursement of assistance on Monday September 25th, 2006.

 

·         What are the mechanisms adopted by the government regarding the financing of the reconstruction of destroyed bridges?

The Presidency of the Council of Ministers has elaborated an adoption scheme to facilitate the adoption of the reconstruction process of destroyed bridges to donor countries, individuals or companies. To date, 45 out of 93 damaged bridges located on the international roads have found donors, who have shown satisfaction with the scheme proposed by the government. Under this adoption scheme, donors undertake the study, design and building processes, in coordination with the CDR and the Ministry of Works and Public Transport to safeguard the quality of design and construction and supervise technical specs.

 

·         What is the status on the promise by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to cover the schooling fees of all public school students?

As pledged earlier, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has transferred funds amounting to USD 20 Million to the High Relief Commission’s account in Banque du Liban, specifically dedicated to assist Lebanese public school students. A joint sub-account (High Relief Commission –Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Aid for School Fees) was created for this purpose. The High Relief Commission has started transferring funds to Lebanese public schools’ bank accounts, as per the Ministry of Education’s schedule and recommendations. Transferred funds will cover the first payment of tuition fees of all Lebanese public school students, from kindergarten all the way to secondary cycles.

 

·         Has reconstruction work started on damaged schools?

Following preliminary assessments conducted by the Reconstruction Unit at the Presidency of Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Works and the Government’s consultants (Khatib & Alami), projects have been put out for tender and bids have been submitted by contractors registered at and approved by the Ministry of Public Works. The Government has so far contracted out 53 projects, which relate to around 300 schools and add up to a total value of nearly LL 5 Billion. Work has started on nearly all affected schools, and some of the contracts have already been completed.

 

·         What about the reconstruction of destroyed towns and villages?

A similar adoption scheme has been elaborated by the Government to facilitate the adoption of the reconstruction process of destroyed towns and villages. To date, 95 out of 251 towns and villages have found donors.

 

The Government has announced its program for the reconstruction of towns and villages outside the Beirut Southern suburbs.

For full details of the program, please click here English / Arabic

 

·         I have a displaced family member or I am seeking shelter, who should I contact?   

You can contact the hotline of the Higher Relief Commission and they will provide you with shelter and food. They will also assist in finding your displaced family members by contacting the government officials located in the various schools around the country.

 

·         I want to donate what should I do?

If you want to make cash or in-kind donation, you can visit the donations section on our website which contains a listing of the accounts for cash transfer and provisions that are urgently required by the Lebanese people. If you require additional clarifications you can contact the Higher Relief Commission's hotline.  If there is a specific organization that you want to assist please visit the useful links section or Other Organization under Relief Efforts section, which are working on relief.

 

·         Where does my donation go and how is it distributed?

Your donation whether cash or in-kind will be received by the Higher Relief Commission or by any organization that you have selected and distributed to the various families located in schools around the country.

 

·         Is my donation tax deductible?

Contributions to the Higher Relief Commission or other organizations under section 1186 as released by the Lebanese Ministry of Finance are exempted from taxes.

 

·         What are the options through which I can send money?

If you are transferring money from Lebanon, please send your donation to the following:

 

Transfers Through Lebanese Banks

 

Account name: Donations to the Lebanese Treasury - Banque du Liban

Account No in LL: 01700362123

Account No in USD: 02700362123

 

If you are transferring money from abroad, you can send your donation to one of the following accounts depending on whether the donation is in US$ or Euro:

 

Transfers Through Foreign Banks in US$

To American Express Bank LTD New York

Swift Code: AEIBUS33

Fedwire Routing Number: 124071889

Favor Banque du Liban Swift Code BDLCLBBX

Account Number: 000699280

For further credit to Donations A/C Number 02700362123

 

Transfers Through Foreign Banks in EURO

Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt

BIC Code DEUTDEFF

Favor Banque du Liban account number 02 108 4694

 

OR DONATE ONLINE

 

·         I am an NGO and would like to receive in-kind / cash donations, what should I do?

For in-kind donations, please visit our donation section and submit your needs which will be posted on our website.

For cash donations, please provide us with a report detailing your current relief efforts and your account number or you can provide us with your website which we will place it under our useful links section.

 

·         I am an NGO and would like to donate my time?

Please visit our donations section (volunteering) and fill up the submission form.

 

For more information, please e-mail aandraos@pcm.gov.lb


© 2007 Presidency of the Council of Ministers. All Rights Reserved.
This website was set up with the collaboration of OMSAR, InfoPro, and the Institute of Finance - Basil Fuleihan.