BEIRUT, Lebanon, July 23 (UPI) -- The top U.N. humanitarian official said Sunday Lebanese civilians were paying a "disproportionate price" in the attacks targeting Hezbollah strongholds.
Jan Egeland, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, described the destruction from Israeli air strikes as horrific and called it a "violation of humanitarian law," the BBC reported.
Egeland toured a reputed Hezbollah stronghold in a Shiite area of southern Beirut just hours after Israeli warplanes struck the area -- an area that had been hit daily throughout the onslaught, which was sparked when Hezbollah guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers and killed others in a cross-border raid on July 12.
"I hadn't believed it would be block by block leveled to the ground," Egeland said of the destruction he saw. "A disproportionate response by Israel is a violation of international humanitarian law."
Egeland said the United Nations would release a "large" international appeal for aid for Lebanon on Monday.
He appealed for both sides to halt attacks and said U.N. supplies of humanitarian aid would begin to arrive in the next few days, the BBC said.