UN releasing $9 million to support Beirut after deadly blast: Spokesman Aug 07, 2020

UN releasing $9 million to support Beirut after deadly blast: Spokesman Aug 07, 2020

ISLAMABAD- UNITED NATIONS,The United Nations is releasing $9 million to address immediate needs following the explosion that devastated Beirut and help strengthen operations in the city's hospitals as part of the efforts to surmount the impact of the crisis, UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq has said.

He told reporters at the regular noon briefing on Thursday that the money from the Lebanese Humanitarian Fund will be following by additional funds from the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund.

The spokesman said the UN is carrying out assessments of the damage and needs resulting from the massive explosion and hopes to hold a meeting on Monday to inform the 193 UN member states of the results and launch an appeal to help Lebanon. “We're trying to get the relevant figures ready as soon as we can.”

Farhan Haq said the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the blast left three hospitals unusable and two others with substantial damage and that “the equivalent of 500 hospital beds have been lost."

He said the initial $9 million will be used to expand and establish additional intensive care units where needed and provide trauma kits, ventilators, medical supplies and medicine.

WHO will help “cover 1,000 trauma interventions and 1,000 surgical interventions for the people.

Reiterating the UN Secretary-General’s commitment to assist Lebanon, Resident Coordinator Najat Rochdi, who also coordinates the UN humanitarian effort in the country, said, “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”.

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

Almost 80,000 children are among the 300,000 people displaced by the Beirut explosions, according to UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates, 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.

“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,” said Violet Speek-Warnery, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Lebanon.

Farhan Haq, the UN deputy spokesman, said 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 said it 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

And many intensive care units were already near capacity with COVID-19 patients, as 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.

The UN said it was working closely with the authorities in Lebanon to support ongoing response in the aftermath of the massive deadly explosion that rocked Beirut on Tuesday, destroying large swathes of the capital.

While Beirut International Airport remains open for passenger and cargo flights, the port of Beirut, where the explosion took place, is destroyed.

The port was the main lifeline of the country as both an economic hub and the main entry point for many essential medicines and supplies.

“With the Beirut Port inoperable, the UN and its partners are looking to adjust logistic networks to ensure sustained operations”,  Farhan Haq said.

He flagged that humanitarian materials would likely be redirected through the Tripoli Port while flagging that because it has a lower capacity than the Beirut Port some supply chains may be adversely affected.

Meanwhile, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reported that it continues to assess the damage to one of its Maritime Task Force ships, struck during the blast.

Mission leadership visited both the vessel at the Beirut Port as well as injured peacekeepers from Bangladesh recovering in hospitals, in the capital and in Saida.

“In the aftermath of the explosions, a total of 23 UNIFIL peacekeepers from Bangladesh had been admitted to hospitals, of whom 18 have been discharged. Two peacekeepers remain in critical but stable condition”, said the UN spokesperson.