UN releases $6M, assesses shelter need in Beirut

The 6 million from the Central Emergency Relief Fund comes on top of 9 million in released funding released from the U.N

Beirut: The United Nations official in charge of emergency relief has released 6 million for the response to the devastating explosion at Beirut’s port, bringing the total U.N. funding for relief efforts to 15 million.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Mark Lowcock said the latest money is intended for trauma care and other urgent hospital needs, the repair of damaged homes for the most vulnerable people, and for logistical support.

The 6 million from the Central Emergency Relief Fund comes on top of 9 million in released funding released from the U.N.’s Lebanon Humanitarian Fund to address primary health needs and to provide food assistance.

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This blast ripped through a country already facing civil unrest, economic hardship, the coronavirus outbreak, and a heavy burden from the Syrian refugee crisis, Lowcock said.

Despite everything, the people of Lebanon have remained generous hosts to millions of Syrian refugees and a beacon of humanity for us all. While the Lebanese people are strong, he said they are being severely tested and our response should be swift and determined.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which Lowcock heads, said it coordinated the deployment of experts to assist the first responders in Beirut.

OCHA said the United Nations and its partners are urgently assessing the situation and mobilizing emergency assistance, including relief items such as temporary shelters for approximately 300,000 displaced people, including 80,000 children.

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Health organisations are working to maintain COVID-19 services while helping victims of the explosion, it said.

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