Over 70,000 Workers Rendered Unemployed Following Beirut Explosions — UN

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SWITZERLAND, AUGUST 18 – The United Nations says no fewer than 70,000 workers are believed to have been rendered unemployed by the recent devastating explosions in Beirut, Lebanon.

A spokesperson for the organisation, Mr Stéphane Dujarric, who stated this during his daily news briefing on Monday, said many households were directly affected as a result.

Dujarric said the latest figure was besides 220,000 workers estimated to have lost their jobs due to the country’s financial crisis that began in October, 2019.

According to him, the coronavirus pandemic has also left many others jobless.

“Some 40,000 buildings were damaged, with 3,000 residential structures severely damaged.

“At least 2,000 doctors were either injured or their clinics were destroyed.

“Yesterday (Sunday), Lebanon confirmed 439 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of cases to 8,881, including 103 deaths.

“The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees announced that, in the last 24 hours, four COVID-19 deaths have been recorded among Palestine refugees in Lebanon.

“This brings to eight the total number of deaths from the virus among that population,” the spokesperson said.

He further said the UN, working with its partners, continued to conduct needs assessments and deliver emergency assistance to those mostly in need.

No fewer than 2,000 people were killed and 5,000 others injured in the Aug. 4 explosions at the Port of Beirut.

The UN has launched a 565-million-U.S.-dollars (N214.7 billion) appeal to support recovery efforts in the city.

Secretary-General António Guterres acknowledged the inflows of foreign support to the Lebanese people, saying he was deeply moved by the show of solidarity.

In a tweet on Monday, Guterres called for more, noting that “we need international generosity to help the people of Lebanon now”.

At Monday’s briefing, Dujarric said the UN Refugee Agency was channeling resources and assistance to where they were most needed.

“UNHCR is mobilising 35 million U.S. dollars (N13 billion) for its emergency response to the most vulnerable Lebanese, refugees and migrant households in the capital.

“UNHCR’s aid stockpile in the country was not affected by the explosion.

“That includes shelter kits, blankets, plastic sheeting, mattresses, and other critical items that have been made available to the Lebanese Red Cross and other partners on the ground,” he added.

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