Thu, 01 Oct 2020

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations is releasing 6 million U.S. dollars in immediate emergency funds for Beirut blast victims' hospital urgent care and fixing up homes for the vulnerable, a UN spokesman said on Friday.

The money is being added to the 9 million dollars released earlier from the UN's Lebanese Humanitarian Fund, said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The latest authorization from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund comes from the UN humanitarian chief, Undersecretary-General Mark Lowcock, Haq said. "The allocation will fund trauma care and other urgent support to hospitals, the repair of damaged homes for the most vulnerable people affected by the explosion, and logistical support."

The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for another 15 million dollars to cover immediate needs and to ensure the continuity of the COVID-19 response across the country, he said. The explosion Tuesday destroyed 17 containers of WHO essential medical supplies with personal protective equipment items completely burned.

A United Nations emergency relief fund appeal for Lebanon is anticipated, Haq said.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is allocating 5,000 food parcels to affected families in Lebanon, the spokesman said. Each package is enough to feed five people for one month and includes basic food items such as rice, pasta, oil, sugar, salt and tomato paste.

An aircraft carrying 8.5 metric tons of surgical and trauma equipment donated by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs flew to Lebanon from the WFP's UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Brindisi, Italy, Haq said.

The UN Refugee Agency said the need for shelter is massive with the homes of hundreds of thousands of people destroyed. The agency is making available its stocks of shelter kits, plastic sheets and tens of thousands of other core relief items, including blankets and mattresses already in Lebanon.

The UN Children's Fund reported that up to 100,000 children are among those whose homes had been destroyed or damaged and who have been displaced. Fifteen primary health centers have sustained some damage.

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