The United States is giving Lebanon more than $13 million in assistance “to mitigate” the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington said Wednesday.
A statement from the U.S. Embassy in Beirut said that $13.3 million in aid would be divided into $5.3 million for United States Agency for International Development’s International Disaster Assistance for response activities focusing on the most vulnerable Lebanese.
Wednesday’s announcement was made to help “impact people’s lives, by helping people on an individual and a societal basis to confront this pandemic,” U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea said.
This will be used to support private health facilities to appropriately triage, manage, and refer patients; ensure continuity of essential health services; carry out risk communication and community outreach activities; and increase access to water, sanitation, and hygiene activities in health care settings.
The remaining $8 million in aid will be from the U.S. State Department’s Migration and Refugee Assistance to UNHCR in order to help in the fight against coronavirus among “refugees and Lebanese host communities in need.”
New assistance announced Wednesday is in addition to the existing U.S. aid, “which has been reshaped over the past month through the allocation of nearly $12 million to address Lebanon’s emerging pandemic-related needs.”
The U.S. has provided more than $2.3 billion in humanitarian assistance to respond to the Syria crisis in Lebanon, the statement said. There are an estimated 1 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, in addition to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees.
This assistance further builds upon the nearly $4.9 billion in bilateral aid, “including more than $187 million in health assistance, that the U.S. government has provided to Lebanon over the last 20 years.”
Programs such as USAID, through the American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA), has invested more than $11 million over the past 10 years to support the construction, rehabilitation, and equipping of medical facilities at the American University of Beirut and Lebanese American University, the statement said.
The Daily Star