Virtual Briefing on Humanitarian Situation in Lebanon

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10-Aug-2020 02:28:37
In a virtual briefing, high-level officials detail how the situation is unfolding on the ground in Lebanon and what the United Nations is doing to assist in the aftermath of the deadly explosion in Beirut Port last Tuesday.

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The United Nations and humanitarian partners are working around the clock to support and mobilize emergency assistance in Lebanon.

“The legendary strength of the Lebanese people now faces an additional test”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Almost a week after the blast produced “a colossal toxic cloud that was visible for miles”, he lamented that “many people remain missing”.

In an instant, the explosion “flattened vital infrastructure and shattered windows near and far”, he stated. “Surrounding neighborhoods were levelled. Many thousands are now homeless”.

And three hospitals were left inoperable, while two others sustained substantial damage. “The shock waves were felt across the city – and indeed across the Mediterranean”, the UN chief said, adding that “the economic, social and other reverberations” will continue for some time.

Chairing the meeting, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said the the “swift and wide-ranging” humanitarian response was in its first of three phases.

He said that the second, recovery and reconstruction, would “cost billions of dollars and require a mix of public and private finance”, while the third will be to respond to the Lebanon’s pre-exciting socioeconomic crisis, which is already exacerbated by COVID-19.

Meanwhile, President of the General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande upheld that the devastating impact of last week’s explosion makes it “imperative for the international community to stand beside the [Lebanese] people”.

Stressing that their needs are enormous and great”, he evoked the need for a multilateral approach, building consensus, and for providing “the necessary help and support to prevent crises of this magnitude in the future”.

UN Resident Coordinator Najat Rochdi spoke passionately about the Lebanese people and the country for which she is also the Humanitarian Coordinator.

“I am addressing you today, with a heart full of sorrow, from a small country in the Middle East…that has struggled a lot and yet still has the will, beyond all odds, to survive and strive”, she said.

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