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  • Writer's pictureBy Reporter

Beirut Blast: UN releases $9m humanitarian fund, calls for global support

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

UN/Pasqual Gorriz A UNIFIL Force Commander Reserve team assesses the magnitude of an explosion at Beirut Port. Lebanon.

By Reporter

Aug.6, 2020 – Najat Rochdi, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Lebanon says the UN has released $9 million from the Lebanese Humanitarian Fund to help meet immediate needs of victims of the recent Beirut blast.

Rochdi said the intervention was part of the commitments of the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres to support the Lebanese government in responding to the gruesome incident.

“With the emergence of new challenges due to the latest devastating event, UN in Lebanon and partners are mobilized to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to the Lebanese people.

“In support of the government’s response to this tragedy”,Rochdi said.

Rochdi said she has been deeply moved by the peoples’ solidarity and spontaneous acts of kindness.

“We are in this together, and we are committed to support Lebanon in this very difficult time,” she added.

UN Deputy Special Coordinator for the country said the response requires global support in order to “surmount the devastating impact” of the crisis facing the Lebanese people.

UN emergency relief Chief Mark Lowcock said additional funding would also be released from the Organization’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

Lowcock said the additional funding will address immediate needs and help strengthen the capacity of existing hospitals.

He said this will include expanding and establishing additional Intensive Care Units (ICUs) where needed, and provide trauma kits, ventilators, medical supplies and medicine.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates almost 80,000 children are among the 300,000 people displaced by the explosions, with affected families in desperate need of support.

The explosions caused an estimated 140 fatalities, 5,000 injuries and hundreds still missing.

While the number of child casualties is unclear, thousands of children’s lives have been turned upside down, with many traumatized and in shock.

Violet Speek-Warnery, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Lebanon says “Over the past 24 hours, UNICEF continued to coordinate closely with authorities and partners on the ground to respond to the urgent needs of families affected.

“Focusing on health, water and the wellbeing of children,” Warnery said.t

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the blast has rendered three hospitals inoperable.

At the same time, two other facilities sustained substantial damage, and the equivalent of 500 hospital beds have been lost.

UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq told journalists that in coordination with the Lebanese Ministry of Health, further assessments are underway to “identify available capacity, material needs and operational gaps in the health sector”.

As health organizations start to procure medical equipment and supplies, WHO is helping to cover 1,000 trauma and 1,000 surgical interventions for people suffering from burns and wounds caused by glass and other debris from the blast.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), medical facilities in Beirut remain inundated with trauma and burn victims, with many providing treatment on sidewalks and in car parks.

OCHA said many intensive care units were already near capacity with COVID-19 patients, and the nation’s outbreak worsens.

OCHA said it is deploying surge teams to assist with the emergency response, including experts from the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team, and International Search and Rescue Advisory Group.

Source: UN News

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