BEIRUT: The United Nations Development programme (UNDP) said it will prioritize the restoration of livelihoods and small businesses; debris management; and access to justice for impacted vulnerable groups in the aftermath of the devastating explosion in the port of Beirut.
It added that this assistance will complement urgent relief efforts of sister UN agencies in the first stage response.
Over the recovery period, UNDP will advocate for and support the implementation of socio-economic protection measures aimed at protecting the people of Beirut affected by the impacts of the blast as well as all Lebanese.
Effects of the blast go far beyond the immediate vicinity of the destroyed port. More than 10,000 enterprises in the direct vicinity of the blast have been destroyed or put out of business, leaving more than 100,000 people unemployed and highly food insecure. Additionally, an estimated 300,000 people have lost their homes, the organization said.
UNDP will work on reducing the immediate impact of the blast on food availability for the most vulnerable, through a mix of cash-for-work emergency employment schemes and the provision of family food security support.
“As we witness the people in Lebanon challenged again, it is now time to turn solidarity into action,” said UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. “While responding to the emergency, we will continue supporting the country as it reforms and rebuilds its longer-term priorities. Together we can ensure that Lebanon will come out of this crisis even stronger.”
The impact of the blast is also compounded by multi-faceted crises that Lebanon has faced for years, including spill over effects of the crisis in Syria and downwardly spiralling economic crisis, further complicated by a persistent COVID-19 outbreak.
The explosion has exacerbated vulnerabilities among several disadvantaged groups, including impoverished Lebanese, refugees and migrant workers. UNDP will support legal aid efforts in affected areas to provide counselling service, to help vulnerable groups safeguard their labor and housing rights.
“We have been here for five decades supporting the people of Lebanon in their efforts to recover from recurring crises,” said Country Resident Representative, Celine Moyroud. “With the current set of crises that the country is going through, we are fully committed to supporting Lebanon on an inclusive path to recovery and development that leaves no one behind and that is attentive to people’s calls for change, greater accountability and transparency.”