In Two And A Half Weeks Beirut Could Run Out Of Food, U.N. Official Claims – Insiderfolks, For the first time since last week’s explosion, two ships docked at the port of Beirut on Monday, including one carrying food, according to state reports.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the cries of the frustrated people of Lebanon “must be addressed” by UN member states.
The head of the UN Food Agency said Monday that Lebanon’s “very, very worried” could run out of bread in around 2 1⁄2 weeks because 85 per cent of the country’s grain passes from the destroyed port of Beirut — but he assumes that the port region can be brought into service this month.
David Beasley, who is in Beirut evaluating the prospects for destruction and rehabilitation, told a simulated UN briefing on the humanitarian situation following last week’s blast in the Lebanese capital that “we have identified a foothold on the destroyed site where we can work on a provisional basis.”
“Acting with the Lebanese Army, we agree that we will clear some of the ground,” Beasley said. “We ‘re going to be airlifting in a ton of supplies, doing whatever we can.”
Beasley said he had spoken with cabinet ministers — who all quit later on Monday — and advised them that the UN wanted “full support now, no barriers” because citizens on the streets were frustrated and saying they required foreign assistance, so “just make sure that the aid goes directly to the people.”
For the first time since last week’s explosion, two ships arrived at the port of Beirut on Monday, including one carrying food, according to state reports.
The president of the workers ‘ union at the port, Bechara Asmar, told Al-Jadeed TV that after the grain silos were demolished by the explosion, the food should be transferred directly to trucks or bags after being sanitized.”
“It is a glimmer of hope, “Asmar said of the first arrivals adding that the port ‘s 5th bay, where the ships docked, stayed intact following the blast.
Beasley, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme, said that a ship of 17,500 metric tons of wheat flour will land in Beirut “within two weeks, and it’s to bring food on the table of all the citizens in Lebanon and it’s going to provide us a supply of food for 20 days.”
“As we’re doing this, we’ve got a 30-day surplus of around 30,000 metric tons of wheat that we’re taking in, and probably about 100,000 metric tons in the next 60 days,” Beasley said.
Najat Rochdi, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, informed UN leaders at a press conference that Beasley had gone to the port with engineers to determine what could be accomplished.
“They are quite hopeful that the reconstruction will finally begin as early as this week to improve the capacity of the port of Beirut,” she added.
Rochdi said she believed that a ship will arrive on Thursday with some construction material, accompanied by a ship with wheat and grain, “to resolve the problem of food security and ideally make sure that Beirut is not short of flour.”
UN humanitarian leader Mark Lowcock told diplomats that the “swift and wide-ranging” humanitarian response is only the first of the three phased approach to the disaster.
“The second — recovery and reconstruction — will cost billions of dollars and involve a mix of public and private funding,” he said.
“The third item is the answer to the pre-existing socio-economic crisis in Lebanon, which is already aggravated by COVID-19.”
Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Director of Emergency Relief, underscored the Beirut bombing last Tuesday, “would have much greater effect than we see today.”
He urged donors, international financial institutions and the wider international community to “come together and roll their shoulders,” stressing that a collective response will best serve the people of Lebanon.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told UN member nations that the cries of the dissatisfied people of Lebanon “must be addressed.”
“It is necessary for a thorough and open inquiry to ascertain the cause of the explosion and to bring about the transparency demanded by the citizens of Lebanon,” he said.
“It is also critical that changes be introduced to meet the needs of the citizens of Lebanon in the longer term.”
Guterres has promised that “the United Nations would work with Lebanon to help alleviate acute misery and to facilitate its development.”
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