BEIRUT, 15 September 2020 – UNICEF today launched an Emergency Cash Grantprogramme aiming to reach up to 80,000 children and vulnerable individuals affected by the Beirut Port explosions which tore through the city last month. UNICEF will provide a one-off emergency cash grant to all households that include children, members with a disability, members over the age of 70 or a female head of household, living in the priority areas – starting with Karantina and Bourj Hammoud.
The August 4 explosions, coming on top of the ongoing economic crisis and COVID-19 pandemic, have left many families in Beirut in an increasingly dire situation, with many having lost their homes, possessions and livelihoods, and putting many children and other vulnerable groups at greater risk. UNICEF believes that these households should be given the opportunity to prioritise their specific needs to promote the wellbeing of their children and families.
“An Emergency Cash Grant can play a vital role in supporting households with children, people with disabilities, those over 70 and female-headed households who experienced this explosion to cope and recover,” said UNICEF Representative in Lebanon Yukie Mokuo. “Rapidly implementing a large-scale emergency grant can enable families to prioritize exactly what they need right now to tackle the vulnerabilities of children and other at-risk groups.” she added.
The Emergency Cash Grant will be provided directly to recipients as a one-time cash transfer of 840,000 Lebanese pounds for each child or eligible household member, up to a maximum of three members per household.
The Emergency Cash Grant is available to all households with a child that live in the identified priority areas (beginning with Karantina and Bourj Hammoud). The Emergency Cash Grant is also available to all households in the priority areas with a member who: (i) has a disability, (ii) is over 70 years, or (iii) is a woman heading a household. The identified priority areas of Beirut were identified based on the level of impact of the blast as well as existing vulnerabilities of neighbourhoods. The four eligible groups were identified based on evidence that these groups have greater needs and vulnerabilities than other households. Households with vulnerabilities living in disadvantaged areas affected by the blast are highly likely to need support.
Eligible households should apply directly to the emergency grant themselves through a mobile-friendly web-based application form – available here: http://bit.ly/unicef-ect -as part of a thorough registration and validation process. While transfers will start to be provided by the beginning of October, registration is open from today until October 16th. Enabling families to apply directly online should lessen the impact of challenges including the fact that many households have been temporarily displaced from their homes and neighbourhoods, as well difficulties of moving around the city due to COVID-19.
In addition, registration sites are being set up in relevant areas for those who may find it challenging to apply online, and community outreach will raise awareness of the programme in eligible communities. The list of sites is available here https://www.unicef.org/lebanon/unicef-ect. This will include outreach through SMS, the UNICEF call centre, and UNICEF Lebanon’s official social media channels.
“We strongly encourage families residing in the priority areas to apply for the Emergency Cash Grants through the online application starting today. UNICEF has proven experience in providing social assistance directly to children and vulnerable groups, and we know just how important this cash support can be for families who have gone through a crisis and need it to protect their family’s wellbeing in the immediate aftermath,” Mokuo added. Full information on the Emergency Cash Grant can be found here: https://www.unicef.org/lebanon/unicef-ect.