UN / LEBANON HUMANITARIAN

10-Aug-2020 00:03:32
Addressing a humanitarian briefing on Lebanon, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the Lebanese people’s voices “must be heard,” and called for a “credible and transparent investigation” to determine the cause of last week's Port of Beirut explosion. UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / LEBANON HUMANITARIAN
TRT: 03:32
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGES: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 10 AUGUST 2020, NEW YORK CITY / FILE
SHOTLIST
FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, exterior UN Headquarters

10 AUGUST 2020, NEW YORK CITY

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“At this time of both sorrow and prolonged frustration, the anger of the Lebanese people is palpable. Their voices must be heard. It is important that a credible and transparent investigation determine the cause of the explosion and bring about the accountability demanded by the Lebanese people. It is also important that reforms be implemented so as to address the needs of the Lebanese people for the longer term.”

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

3. Close up, UN Flag in front of UN Headquarters

10 AUGUST 2020, NEW YORK CITY

4. SOUNDBITE (English) Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“The catastrophe is huge. The sense of loss and even disbelief is profound. But Lebanon is resilient. Lebanon has immense spirit and will. Perhaps most of all, Lebanon is not alone. The United Nations will stand with Lebanon to help alleviate the immediate suffering and support its recover. This is a moment for solidarity, and this is the time to change things for the better.”

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

5. Close up, UN Flag in front of UN Headquarters

10 AUGUST 2020, NEW YORK CITY

6. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“The Beirut blast brought death and destruction to a country already grappling with serious challenges. The humanitarian response has been swift and wide-ranging. It is just the first phase in what will be three elements of the needed response. The second – recovery and reconstruction – will cost billions of dollars and require a mix of public and private finance. The third element is responding to Lebanon’s pre-exciting socioeconomic crisis.”

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

7. Close up, UN Flag in front of UN Headquarters

10 AUGUST 2020, NEW YORK CITY

8. SOUNDBITE (English) David Beasley, Executive Director, World Food Programme (WFP):
“85 percent of the food in this country is imported. 85 percent of the grain, the wheat comes through the Beirut Port. That’s gone. And, so, what we got to do, and this is why it was so exciting to be on the ground to see the reality so that we can determine how we can get, at least on a temporary basis, part of the port operation for bringing in wheat, for bringing in the grains. And in fact, we’ve already diverted a ship. We will have 17.5 thousand metric tonnes here within two weeks, and that is to put bread on the tables of all the people in Lebanon and that will give us a bread supply for 20 days.”

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

9. Close up, UN Flag in front of UN Headquarters

10 AUGUST 2020, NEW YORK CITY

10. SOUNDBITE (English) Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, United Nations Children Fund UNICEF:
“We’re working shoulder-to-shoulder to assess damage done to schools, water systems, and infrastructure across Beirut. We’re supporting survivors with urgent health, water, protection services, counselling and other support. We’ve managed to rescue about 90 per ent of the vaccines stored in the damaged port warehouse. And we’re working to scale-up emergency cash assistance to families in urgent need of housing and other essentials.”

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

11. Close up, UN Flag in front of UN Headquarters

10 AUGUST 2020, NEW YORK CITY

12. SOUNDBITE (English) Amal Mudallali, Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations:
“All of these came during a severe financial crisis that saw people lose their life savings and security and a 70 percent devaluation of the Lebanese pound. The pandemic added to the misery of people and compounded their sense of loss and insecurity. Their challenge was a matter life of economic hardship, or death by the COVID virus. Then came the explosion. It shattered Beirut, and with it what was left of the social and financial security. People are desperate now, angry, and afraid. They are demanding and deserve justice, and rightly so.”

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

13. Close up, UN Flag in front of UN Headquarters
STORYLINE
Addressing a humanitarian briefing on Lebanon, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres today (10 Aug) said the Lebanese people’s voices “must be heard,” and called for a “credible and transparent investigation” to determine the cause of last week's Port of Beirut explosion.

Guterres said, “at this time of both sorrow and prolonged frustration, the anger of the Lebanese people is palpable,” adding that “it is also important that reforms be implemented so as to address the needs of the Lebanese people for the longer term.”

The explosion, which originated in a warehouse at the Port of Beirut, flattened vital infrastructure and left many thousands homeless.
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The Secretary-General said, “the catastrophe is huge. The sense of loss and even disbelief is profound. But Lebanon is resilient. Lebanon has immense spirit and will. Perhaps most of all, Lebanon is not alone. The United Nations will stand with Lebanon to help alleviate the immediate suffering and support its recover. This is a moment for solidarity, and this is the time to change things for the better.”

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has helped to organize the deployment of experts from the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group and the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination system to help first responders in Beirut.

OCHA’s chief, Mark Lowcock, said, “the Beirut blast brought death and destruction to a country already grappling with serious challenges. The humanitarian response has been swift and wide-ranging. It is just the first phase in what will be three elements of the needed response. The second – recovery and reconstruction – will cost billions of dollars and require a mix of public and private finance. The third element is responding to Lebanon’s pre-exciting socioeconomic crisis.

Within hours of the blast, the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon released 9 million US dollars from the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund to address immediate needs.

On Friday, the Emergency Relief Coordinator released a further $6 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

A plane carrying 20 tons of WHO health supplies landed in Beirut on Wednesday to cover 1,000 trauma interventions and 1000 surgical interventions for people suffering from injuries and burns as a result of the blast.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has imported wheat flour and grains for bakeries and mills to help protect against food shortages across the country given that the Port had housed Lebanon’s only major grain silo.

WFP’s Executive Director David Beasley, said, “85 percent of the food in this country is imported. 85 percent of the grain, the wheat comes through the Beirut Port. That’s gone. And, so, what we got to do, and this is why it was so exciting to be on the ground to see the reality so that we can determine how we can get, at least on a temporary basis, part of the port operation for bringing in wheat, for bringing in the grains. And in fact, we’ve already diverted a ship. We will have 17.5 thousand metric tonnes here within two weeks, and that is to put bread on the tables of all the people in Lebanon and that will give us a bread supply for 20 days.”

For her part, UNICEF’s Executive Director Henrietta Fore, said, “we’re working shoulder-to-shoulder to assess damage done to schools, water systems, and infrastructure across Beirut. We’re supporting survivors with urgent health, water, protection services, counselling and other support.”

Fore said, 90 percent of vaccines stored in a damaged port warehouse have been saved, and UNICEF is “working to scale-up emergency cash assistance to families in urgent need of housing and other essentials.”

Lebanese Ambassador Amal Mudallali said, “all of these came during a severe financial crisis that saw people lose their life savings and security and a 70 percent devaluation of the Lebanese pound. The pandemic added to the misery of people and compounded their sense of loss and insecurity. Their challenge was a matter life of economic hardship, or death by the COVID virus. Then came the explosion. It shattered Beirut, and with it what was left of the social and financial security. People are desperate now, angry, and afraid. They are demanding and deserve justice, and rightly so.”

French President Emmanuel Macron and the United Nations on Sunday (9 Aug) co-convened the International Conference on support to Beirut and the Lebanese people.
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