At an international donors' conference today, Foreign Minister Maas pledged further 40 million Euros in support.
Images of the explosion in the port of Beirut on 4 August 2020 were broadcast around the world. More than 200 people died and 6500 were injured. The wave of the blast shattered windows and made whole buildings uninhabitable across a large part of the city. The explosion was caused by failures of the state’s supervisory structures and is a symptom of one of the worst political and economic crises ever to hit the country. The value of the Lebanese pound has fallen drastically since 2019. Foodstuffs are almost seven times the price they were then. Over half the population lives in poverty. The Lebanese people’s hopes for urgently needed political reforms have not yet been fulfilled either: the country has had no government since October 2020. Several attempts to form a new government have failed.
Foreign Minister Maas: “Germany will make available a further €40 million”
Germany will make available a further €40 million to support people in Lebanon – especially the approx. 1.5 million Syrian refugees in the country. Foreign Minister Maas pledged this sum today (4 August) at the conference on Lebanon organised by France and the United Nations.
Humanitarian assistance projects will benefit from 13 million Euros of this sum, with a further 7 million Euros going to stabilisation, crisis prevention and peacebuilding measures. The humanitarian assistance will not be implemented by Lebanese state institutions, but will support the valuable work being done by various humanitarian organisations on the ground in Lebanon. In addition, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development will provide 20 million Euros to tackle the COVID‑19 pandemic and the repercussions of the Beirut explosion.
However, a real, long-term improvement in the situation can only come with the formation of a new, effective government in Lebanon which undertakes to implement the reforms demanded by the people.
Where does the German Government’s humanitarian assistance go?
The German Government supports a large number of humanitarian organisations in Lebanon, including the NGOs Malteser International and Medico International, which provide healthcare for people who otherwise cannot afford to see a doctor or buy medicine. These services can be used both by Lebanese people and by Syrian refugees. Other NGOs, like NRC, have been helping to repair housing since August 2020. The IRC offers psychosocial support and counselling, for instance for Syrian refugees who have had traumatic experiences in the civil war-torn country. Also, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP) supply foodstuffs to hundreds of thousands and, among other things, ensure that people in need in Lebanon can be vaccinated against COVID‑19.
In the area of stabilisation, crisis prevention and peacebuilding, Germany’s engagement concentrates on supporting reform processes and promoting transparency and accountability. It also supports political and social dialogue and strengthens Lebanese civil society participation in the political reform process.
Germany is the second largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Lebanon
Since 2012, Germany has provided a total of 825 million Euros in humanitarian assistance for Lebanon, almost 150 million of this in 2020 alone. Support has focused on food aid, protection and healthcare.
Last year, Germany made available 335 million Euros for Lebanon within the scope of development assistance. This funding, however, comes with strict conditions. It will not be paid out until there is again an effective government in Lebanon which carries out political and economic reforms in line with the pledges given to its own population and the international community.