Health care, food top needs for Beirut blast victims: UN

Source: Xinhua| 2020-08-27 05:42:17|Editor: huaxia

Workers repair a building damaged during the explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, Aug. 21, 2020. (Photo by Bilal Jawich/Xinhua)

Lebanon has seen an increase in COVID-19 transmissions since the massive explosion, further straining its health systems.

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Access to health care and food, the rehabilitation of homes, cash assistance and livelihood support are the top needs following the Beirut explosion three weeks ago, a UN spokesman said on Wednesday.

"We, along with our partners, are continuing to provide assistance to those most in need," said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Workers clean up debris of a building damaged during the explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, Aug. 21, 2020. (Photo by Bilal Jawich/Xinhua)

Between Aug. 19 and 21, more than 60,000 hot meals and food kits and 8,500 gallons of water were provided. Some 16,500 hygiene and dignity kits were distributed to women and girls, while 4,000 pregnant and breast-feeding women were reached with nutrition assistance, he told a regular briefing.

Some 200,000 homes were affected with some 40,000 buildings damaged, of which 3,000 were severely damaged, said the spokesman, quoting UN Development Programme figures.

The loss of homes often leads to overcrowded households and communities, increasing other risks, such as COVID-19 transmission and sexual and gender-based violence. More than 4,000 households have received shelter assistance, he said.

A worker repairs a building damaged during the explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, Aug. 21, 2020. (Photo by Bilal Jawich/Xinhua)

Lebanon has seen an increase in COVID-19 transmissions since the massive explosion, further straining its health systems, he said, adding that 532 new COVID-19 cases were reported, bringing the total to 13,687 cases with 138 deaths.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) continues to work with partners engaged in the rehabilitation of schools. Some 178 schools were reported damaged, he said.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay is visiting Lebanon and is expected to meet people impacted by the explosions and visit schools and historical buildings in Beirut that were heavily damaged.

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