Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore
NEW YORK, 21 August 2021 – “Unless urgent action is taken, more than four million people across Lebanon – predominantly vulnerable children and families – face the prospect of critical water shortages or being completely cut off from safe water supply in the coming days.
“Last month, UNICEF warned that more than 71 per cent of the population of Lebanon could run out of water this summer. Since then, this perilous situation has continued, with critical services including water and sanitation, power networks and healthcare under huge strain. Vital facilities such as hospitals and health centres have been without access to safe water due to electricity shortages, putting lives at risk.
“If four million people are forced to resort to unsafe and costly sources of water, public health and hygiene will be compromised, and Lebanon could see an increase in waterborne diseases, in addition to the surge in COVID-19 cases.
“UNICEF is calling for the urgent restoration of the power supply – the only solution to keep water services running.
“The needs are massive, and the urgent formation of a new government with clear commitments to reform, is critical to tackle the current crisis through determined and systematic action to protect children’s lives and ensure access to water and all basic services.
“Our teams in Lebanon are working tirelessly, in incredibly difficult circumstances, to provide life-saving services and continue to support the response to COVID-19 including with vaccine deployment and further expanding of programmes.”
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org