EU: Lebanese returning south faster than expected

August 17, 2006 20:10

Lebanese civilians are returning to their homes quicker than expected after a UN-brokered cease-fire, posing big challenges to aid agencies, the European Union said Thursday. The foreign trade minister of Finland, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said tens of thousands of Lebanese who fled the month-long fighting between Israel and Hizbullah have started to return. "The extent and speed of their return have come as a surprise to all actors, and constitute a great challenge for aid organizations as they strive to meet changing demands," Paula Lehtomaki said in a statement. She had just ended a three-day visit to Lebanon with EU Development and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Louis Michel.

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