Beirut devastated: UN agencies urgently appeal for donations

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UN agencies on Friday launched an urgent appeal for international solidarity with Lebanon, whose capital was devastated Tuesday by an explosion, in addition to the $ 9 million already released from United Nations humanitarian funds.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has requested $ 15 million, while Unicef ​​has said it wants to raise at least $ 8.25 million, at an online press conference, also bringing together the Food Program (WFP), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the High Commissioner for Refugees.

Pointing to the already precarious situation of the country, half of the inhabitants of which now live in poverty, these officials stressed the urgent need to intervene in two areas – medical and food – while silos, containers and hospitals were destroyed on Tuesday .

“The needs are enormous and immediate,” said Marixie Mercado, spokesperson for Unicef ​​(United Nations Children’s Fund), referring to “up to 100,000 displaced children”, according to estimates, after their homes were affected by the explosion, schools damaged and “thousands” of protective equipment against the new coronavirus destroyed.

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Unicef ​​wishes to raise 8.25 million dollars and “this is only a preliminary appeal”, she added.

The WHO has expressed particular concern about the overloading of hospitals, shortages of drugs and medical supplies. She estimates she needs $ 15 million to cover immediate emergency trauma, health needs and the fight against COVID-19.

“Three hospitals are no longer functioning, 2 are partially damaged” as well as health centers, recalled Christian Lindmeier, WHO spokesperson.

In this impoverished country, in the grip of the “refugee crisis” and COVID-19, “the vulnerability has further increased with the explosion”, he insisted.

A fire in a warehouse, containing in particular 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate, caused the explosion, of incredible power. 150 people have been killed, more than 5,000 injured and dozens disappeared.

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