(Photo credit: Al-Monitor)
A UN emergency aid plan to provide water and healthcare facilities in Lebanon has been halted, with the UN urging the country to find a viable solution for its severe energy crisis, according to media reports from 6 April.
“I am appealing to the Lebanese government to find a sustainable solution to this issue, as the most vulnerable people need some form of assistance and protection,” UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Najat Rochdi said.
The UN-led plan, which was intended to last for three months and was later extended, began in September of last year and was set to allocate $10 million to ensure fuel for water pumps, hospitals, and dispensaries across Lebanon.
The World Food Programme (WFP), along with other UN agencies, have reportedly provided over 10.4 million liters of fuel to 350 water facilities and 272 hospitals across Lebanon.
Despite this, however, the country is still in need of urgent support “to sustain operations and scale-up critical humanitarian activities,” Rochdi’s office said in a statement.
This coincides with a report on 6 April from the Lebanese Al-Joumhouria newspaper, which said that Lebanon’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to provide the country with a grant have made good progress.
According to the report, an initial agreement will be reached within hours, and Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati will meet with the IMF delegation on 7 April before it leaves the country.
The report states that online negotiations on IMF conditions will continue on 11 April, and that the organization has asked Lebanon to implement the necessary reforms within the Central Bank (Banque Du Liban) as a prerequisite for the grant.
Due to Lebanon’s severe fuel shortage, power outages have become a daily occurrence across the country, especially affecting the ability of hospital and water facilities to perform efficiently.
To help alleviate Lebanon’s severe energy crisis, the Islamic Republic of Iran has stated its willingness to build two power plants in the country, each with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts.