UN humanitarian funds allocate $10M for fuel crisis response in Lebanon

Beirut: The United Nations said its humanitarian funds have allocated USD 10 million to respond to the fuel crisis in Lebanon and help avert the deterioration of the country’s humanitarian situation.

The under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, on Wednesday allocated USD 4 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to respond to the fuel crisis in Lebanon.

 The allocation will help 2.3 million people across Lebanon by making sure there is enough fuel to keep water stations functioning.

The CERF allocation goes alongside a USD 6 million allocation from the Lebanon humanitarian Ffund to help 65 hospitals in Lebanon, as well as primary health-care centres, dispensaries and medical cold chain storage.

 The fuel shortage, a result of the ongoing socioeconomic and political crises, is jeopardizing the availability of health care and drinking water for nearly everyone in Lebanon.

“Fuel and electricity shortages are threatening essential health and water services across Lebanon, putting thousands of families at risk of a humanitarian crisis,” Martin Griffiths, said from the capital city of Beirut, where he is meeting with senior government officials and representatives of humanitarian and donor communities as part of a weeklong visit to Lebanon, Syria and Turkey.

“Many hospitals in Lebanon have already been forced to reduce their operations because of fuel shortages and electricity outages. The public water supply and wastewater treatment systems, which rely heavily on fuel, have been drastically cut across the country, leaving millions of people without access to water in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Griffiths added.

As part of the CERF allocation, the World Food Programme (WFP) will help supply fuel to hospitals, health-care centres, dispensaries and water stations.

The funds will also support four water supply areas in Beirut – Bekaa, Mt. Lebanon, North and South – which serve more than two thirds of Lebanon’s population. Families in Lebanon have been increasingly relying on private water trucking, which is becoming unaffordable and unsafe. T

hey are also at risk from contaminated water, which some suppliers have been distributing. Lebanon has been grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Syria crisis, and the aftermath of the Beirut Port explosions in August 2020.

 Increasing poverty, economic contraction and inflation have compounded needs among people living across Lebanon, including refugee communities.

 Since October 2019, the Lebanese pound has lost more than 90 per cent of its value, leading to a year-on-year inflation of 120 per cent between May 2020 and May 2021. Food prices increased 400 per cent between January and December 2020.

Established by the UN general assembly in 2005, CERF enables humanitarian responders to deliver life-saving assistance whenever and wherever crises strike.

The Lebanon humanitarian fund is a Country-based Pooled Fund led by the humanitarian coordinator for Lebanon and managed by OCHA. Initiated in 2014, the Fund supports the strategic delivery of timely, accountable and effective humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people in Lebanon.