Lebanon, BEIRUT, 20 August 2020 – The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has commenced disbursement of US$8.5 million from the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund (LHF) to provide rapid support to families affected by the devastating Beirut Port explosions, the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, Ms. Najat Rochdi, announced today. More than 180,000 people are being reached with critical, life-saving humanitarian assistance, including through funding to NGOs delivering health, food assistance, and protection projects.
“The catastrophic explosions has upended the lives of nearly every person in Lebanon. In an instant it shattered entire neighbourhoods, destroyed hospitals and schools, and tore apart families who lost their loved ones,” said Ms. Rochdi. “This swift disbursement of $8.5 million from the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund goes directly to NGOs working on the ground to deliver much-needed assistance to the families and communities who so desperately need our support right now.”
The LHF funds support five international and three local NGOs already working in Lebanon to deliver eight projects. This includes assistance to damaged primary health care centers, so that they can continue to provide essential health care, mental health support and manage the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; provision of hot meals, food parcels, hygiene and baby kits to affected families; and emergency cash to the most vulnerable.
“Given the scale of this tragedy, it is important we expedited funding to immediately begin the process of rebuilding people’s lives and supporting their recovery. I am further gratified that one hundred per cent (100%) of this funding goes to NGOs in Beirut who are already working closely with vulnerable communities, ensuring assistance reaches the people who need it most,” said Ms. Rochdi.
The explosions came as Lebanon faces multiple and interlocking crises. In recent months, economic contraction, increasing poverty and inflation have compounded needs among people living in Lebanon, including refugee communities. At the same time that hospitals and clinics were damaged in the explosions and overwhelmed with the injured, COVID-19 cases are also rising fast. As of 19 August, 10,348 total cases had been recorded, almost doubling in the two weeks since the explosions.
The $8.5 million LHF funding is complemented by an additional $6 million allocation by the Central Emergency Response Fund, announced by UN humanitarian chief Mr. Mark Lowcock on 7 August. The quick release of the combined $14.5 million again demonstrates the value of the UN pooled funds to enable humanitarian partners to deliver timely and life-saving assistance when and where needed.
About the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund
The Lebanon Humanitarian Fund (LHF) is a Country-based Pooled Fund led by the Humanitarian Coordinator and managed by OCHA. Initiated in 2014, the Fund supports the strategic delivery of timely, accountable and effective humanitarian assistance to those most vulnerable in Lebanon. In 2020 so far, it has been generously supported by Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Qatar, Slovakia Sweden and Switzerland.