The blast-devastated Beirut port is temporarily operational, a UN spokesman said on Wednesday, adding that emergency relief and aid materials will continue to be delivered to victims.
Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said almost 9,000 containers have been unloaded at the port between Aug. 11 and 18. More than 1,000 tons of goods, including iron and wheat, have been offloaded.
“We, along with our partners, are continuing to provide emergency humanitarian assistance and conduct assessments,” Dujarric said.
Lebanon imports about 85 percent of its food.
Although the government announced a two-week lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic beginning Aug. 21 and lasting until Sept. 6, “all relief and aid work in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion will be allowed to continue,” he said.
Since Aug. 4 when explosions leveled much of the port, the UN Refugee Agency helpline has received more than 6,000 calls with more than 500 direct referrals for refugees in need of assistance, Dujarric said. It is providing psychosocial support, emergency cash, shelter kits and follow-ups on any issues related to child protection or sexual and gender-based violence.
The UN Women agency has another dedicated, safe phone line for women and girls at risk or who are experiencing gender-based violence in areas impacted by the explosions, the spokesman said. The agency has received dozens of calls. The agency and its partners will also carry out a gender assessment later this month.
The spokesman said access to water is another critical issue in Beirut, with more than 680 households in need of water tanks. Water is being trucked in while some buildings already have been re-connected to water supply.