Sun, 24 Jan 2021

UN chief launches plan to revitalize Beirut

03 Dec 2020, 09:18 GMT+10

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Against the "grim background" of tragic explosions that destroyed much of central Beirut in early August, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday offered a new multi-agency plan to help the Lebanese people move forward.

"With the launch of the Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework (3RF), prepared jointly by the World Bank, the European Union and United Nations, we have a plan," the UN chief said in a video message to the International Conference in Support of the Lebanese People.

On Aug. 4, a cache of ammonium nitrate caused a deadly blast that rocked the capital Beirut, causing devastation in a city already suffering from a growing coronavirus outbreak, political and economic turmoil. The blast killed some 200 people, injured thousands of others, left around a quarter of a million homeless, sparked further protests toward the government, and prompted the resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his entire cabinet.

"Through this framework - the 3RF - we can, together, help the Lebanese people move beyond the emergency phase and onto the path for longer-term recovery and reconstruction," Guterres said.

France was hosting the video conference designed to finally unlock humanitarian aid, which has reportedly been stalled by the multiple crises afflicting Lebanon.

The new framework assesses the levels of incoming support against the continuing needs of the population - with a focus on the most vulnerable.

"We can address the recovery and reconstruction needs of Beirut, particularly of the port, as well as impacted areas and affected communities," said the top UN official. "With a sustainable urban planning approach and quick socio-economic recovery action, we can start to revitalize Beirut as the beating heart of Lebanon."

The 3RF includes essential reforms, targeted not only to facilitate recovery and reconstruction but also to address the root causes of the crisis.

Guterres underscored the importance of mobilizing more support for the urgent needs of the families and businesses impacted by the explosion; the vulnerable and poor; and the marginalized and underserved.

"We must continue, with one voice, to call the leadership of Lebanon to put aside partisan political interests and form a government that adequately protects and responds to the needs of the people," he said.

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