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Lebanon crisis

UN allocates $10 mln to ensure fuel for Lebanon hospitals, water stations

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The United Nations said its humanitarian funds have allocated Lebanon $10 million to help the cash-strapped nation buy vital fuel to power hospitals and water stations.

“Lebanon faces profound uncertainty. The humanitarian community, though, is resolved to assist all vulnerable populations, whether Lebanese, refugees or migrants,” UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths tweeted Wednesday during a visit to Beirut.

The UN’s humanitarian agency OCHA said Tuesday a $6 million allocation from the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund was planned to help 65 hospitals, primary healthcare centers, dispensaries and medical cold storage facilities.

Another $4 million would be set aside for health centers as well as water stations and four water facilities that serve more than two thirds of Lebanon’s population, it said in a statement.

“The allocation will help 2.3 million people across Lebanon by making sure there is enough fuel to keep water stations functioning,” said OCHA.

“The fuel shortage, a result of the ongoing socioeconomic and political crises, is jeopardizing the availability of health care and drinking water for nearly everyone in Lebanon,” it added.

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Lebanon’s economic collapse has stripped the national currency of most of its value and left four out of five inhabitants below the poverty line.

The crisis deepened when central bank started removing subsidies in order to shore up its dwindling foreign currency reserves, making the cost of fuel imports more expensive.

That has led to shortages of almost everything, with power cuts lasting up to 22 hours a day and fuel for private generators increasingly scarce.

Many hospitals have been forced to scale back operations because of the shortages.

The UN children’s agency UNICEF has repeatedly warned that a near total shutdown of the water supply in Lebanon could threaten more than four million people.

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