• By Reporter

UN Deputy Chief says response to Beirut beyond UN humanitarian system

.....calls for collective actions to reduce human sufferings

UN Deputy Sec.-Gen. Amina Mohammed in a virtual donor conference co-convened with French President, Emmanuel Macron

By Reporter

Aug.9 2020 – UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed has said response to the destruction from the explosions in Beirut is beyond the UN humanitarian system as she calls for collective response from UN partners and organisations.

Ms Mohammed made the call in a virtual donor conference on Sunday which was co-convened by French President, Emmanuel Macron, stating that the damage to homes and public infrastructure is significant – and the response must match it.

The donor conference seeks to rally international assistance and support in the wake of the Aug. 4 massive explosion at the Beirut Port.

About 150 people were reported dead, 4,000 wounded, many more missing and a massive destruction of the port city.

Ms Mohammed stressed that all hands must be on deck to help Lebanon overcome the tragedy, recover better and reduce the human sufferings.

“The sense of urgency, large-scale activity and considerable funding required to tackle the recovery and reconstruction will need to go beyond the UN’s humanitarian system and involve a wider range of UN organizations and other partners.

“The financial support leveraged in record time – in particular from regional partners – is already making a difference. But of course, this is just the beginning.

“The explosion in Beirut last Tuesday shocked the world, leaving neighborhoods flattened, a large part of Lebanon’s grain reserves obliterated.

“Six hospitals damaged or destroyed, hundreds of thousands have been made homeless - many of them children,”Ms Mohammed said

The UN Deputy Chief said that since the blast, the UN system has been working around the clock, delivering medical supplies, shelter kits and food parcels, and helping reunite separated families.

“To help Lebanon overcome the tragedy and recover better, we will need all hands on deck.

“The faster we act, the better we can reduce human suffering, in Lebanon and beyond – let us not forget that the port that was destroyed also serves humanitarian needs in Syria.

“As the dust settles, the deeper and longer-term impacts will become visible,

“Led by the UN Resident Coordinator in Lebanon, the UN development system has been mobilizing in full emergency mode to support the Lebanese authorities,” Ms Mohammed said.

Ms. Mohammed said that it would be a mistake to underestimate the cost of this work, or its value as the blast will have deep social and economic impacts.

She added that not least because it came when Lebanon was already dealing with economic hardship and the coronavirus outbreak.”

She called for a focus on support to four priority sectors – health, food, the rehabilitation of buildings and the rehabilitation of schools.

Ms Mohammed said that responders must also remember the importance of the Government of Lebanon implementing the reforms that will address the needs of the Lebanese people for the longer term.

According to Ms Mohammed, yet more assistance will be required to ensure Lebanon can recover better from the tragedy.

Ms. Mohammed stressed, that the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), will continue to monitor the situation and humanitarian needs on the ground, while the UN Country Team will continue to work with the World Bank and other partners to support longer-term reconstruction and recovery.

“In the coming days, weeks and months, let us commit to keeping focus on the needs of Lebanon and its people, including the many refugees the country generously hosts.

“The United Nations will help strengthen safety nets for vulnerable people against the socio-economic crisis, and we are well equipped to do this”.

Ms Mohammed said a focus on the long-term is also essential to ensure the latest tragedy will mark a turning point for Lebanon.

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