UNFPA calls for urgent funding to respond to the emerging needs in Lebanon

Cairo – 12 August 2020 – UNFPA is urgently appealing for USD 19.6 million to meet the lifesaving needs of women and girls impacted by the 4 August explosion at the Beirut Port, which killed at least 160 people, injured around 6,000, and displaced more than 300,000. 

Reports also indicate that more than 80 primary health care centres have been severely damaged. Preliminary assessments show that an estimated 15 hospitals have been significantly impacted by the blast and a minimum of three have been rendered partially or fully inoperable.

The Beirut Port explosion has created yet another large-scale crisis in Lebanon, a country in the midst of a serious financial and economic crisis in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent months, economic contraction, increasing poverty, inflation and rising prices of staple products have compounded essential needs among both Lebanese and non-Lebanese communities – including the approximately 1.5 million refugees who constitute the highest per capita refugee population in the world.

UNFPA is scaling up its efforts to meet the emerging needs of an estimated 81,000 women of reproductive age and 48,000 adolescents among the 300,000 who have been displaced as a result of the explosion. As many maternity wards and primary healthcare centres have been affected, UNFPA aims to ensure continued ante-natal and delivery care services to those in need, including an estimated 3,938 currently displaced pregnant women.

UNFPA will allocate the requested funds to provide urgently needed integrated sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, including comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care, family planning services, ante-natal care and postnatal care.  

UNFPA is also procuring medical equipment, medicines and supplies for maternity departments and affected health facilities and is supporting the provision of 25 per cent of health procurement needs for the next six months, as identified by the World Health Organization (WHO). UNFPA will provide medical supplies and equipment, personal protective equipment for health care providers, and deliver dignity kits customized to fit the specific needs of women, adolescent girls, and pregnant and lactating women.

 

Given the displacement and economic hardships resulting from this crisis and the establishment of temporary shelters for those who have been rendered homeless, UNFPA expects the risks of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse to increase substantially. These risks were already on the rise before the incident due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic with a notable rise in reported intimate partner violence. Requested funds will also be used to ensure that women and girls are able to safely access quality GBV response services, including Women and Girls Safe Spaces (WGSS), clinical management of sexual violence, psychological first aid, and counselling.  

UNFPA, in its lead role on GBV coordination and programming, will also ensure that risks of GBV are mitigated throughout the response, with a focus on more vulnerable segments of the community, including adolescent girls, older persons and persons with disabilities.

An effective response to the increasing risks of GBV will also require a coordinated response to continue supporting survivors, with a focus on safeguarding the physical and mental wellbeing of women and girls in need. In this regard, UNFPA will engage a team of psychologists to work with local implementing partners to ensure that mental health and psychosocial support is adequately mainstreamed in the service package.

 

UNFPA is working with local authorities and partner agencies to support the joint rapid assessment of hospitals and primary healthcare facilities in order to determine the extent of the damage to sexual and reproductive health and maternity departments.

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