Grandi ends Lebanon visit with call to help country in its hour of need

Grandi ends Lebanon visit with call to help country in its hour of need

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi concluded a visit to Lebanon by calling on the international community to support the country in its hour of need, as it faces “an almost perfect storm” of the financial crisis, COVID-19 outbreak and the aftermath of the devastating port explosion in the capital Beirut.

During his first field mission since the start of lockdown, Grandi met families in Beirut affected by the blast, visited a COVID-19 isolation facility, and hospital extension in the north of the country set up by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to help respond to the pandemic.

He also spoke to families gravely impacted by the economic crisis, which has led to a rise in poverty and hardship for many Lebanese as well as the country’s large refugee population.

“This is a country that for more than 70 years has hosted millions of refugees, Palestinians, Iraqis, and now, of course, the very large Syria situation. But Lebanon is also now in its own hour of need,” Grandi said. “This is a situation of an almost perfect storm… all those crises are hitting Lebanon at the same time.”

“At this moment, it is important that the world stands next to Lebanon and provides the humanitarian support that its people, and of course the refugees, need to stand on their feet again,” he added. 

UNHCR has expanded as much as it could the cash assistance it provides to the most vulnerable refugee families to help them cope with the inflation and financial impact of the COVID-19 restrictions, which have made it impossible for many to earn anything during lockdown.

Needs are immense and humanitarian aid can only cover a fraction of the overall requirements.

Original source: UNHCR