Emergency aid to Lebanon 'not a solution': UN

Emergency aid to Lebanon 'not a solution', says UN
2 min read
01 August, 2021
Najat Rochdi, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, said emergency aid cannot be the solution for Lebanon, which is in need of urgent structural reform.
A masked woman walks with a Lebanese flag in Beirut [Getty]

As Lebanon prepares to mark one year since a massive blast ravaged the capital's port amid a deepening economic crisis, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator said the emergency aid the humanitarian organisation has put forward cannot be the solution to the country's many woes.

"Lebanon's recovery must coincide with reform," Najat Rochdi said in a statement published on the UN’s news portal. "Emergency assistance is not the solution."

Rochdi said it was "regretful" that Lebanon’s leaders have so far been unable to reach agreement on the formation of a new government, delaying much needed structural reforms to address the country's economic downfall.

"This is a critical moment in Lebanon's history," the UN representative, who took office days before tons of ammonium nitrate detonated in Beirut's port on August 4, 2020, said.

Ultimately, "the responsibility for avoiding the total collapse of Lebanon lies primarily in the hands of its leaders", she said.

The UN is currently developing a 12-month Emergency Response Plan to alleviate the needs of the most vulnerable Lebanese affected by the current crisis, complementing the support already provided to refugees and host communities.

"This is not a solution," Rochdi said. "It aims at linking with and preparing the transition towards solutions to address the root causes of the crisis, which will only come from structural reforms and government-led comprehensive and sustainable development interventions."

"The UN will continue to stand by Lebanon as it continues on the path to recovery and ultimately fulfilling its potential," the UN representative added.

In the immediate aftermath of the explosion, the United Nations and its partners raised 167 million USD in a flash appeal.

A year after the deadly Beirut port blast, no one has been held to account over the tragedy. Lebanese lawmakers on Monday tasked ex-premier and billionaire Najib Mikati with forming a government and ending one year of political deadlock that has crippled the economy.

Foreign donors have demanded extensive reforms, which have so far been prevented by political rivalries. The European Union said on Friday it was ready to impose sanctions on Lebanon ruling elite over the political crisis wracking the country, after adopting a legal framework for such measures.