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Ireland pledges €1 million to help 'poorest and most vulnerable' Lebanon households

Lebanon is facing “enormous challenges”, Minister Simon Coveney said.

Coveney addressing Irish troops in south Lebanon.
Coveney addressing Irish troops in south Lebanon.
Image: Irish Defence Forces

IRELAND IS TO donate €1 million to help the poorest households in Lebanon, it was announced today.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Simon Coveney, TD, said that Ireland is to give an additional €1 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide assistance for the poorest and most vulnerable Lebanese households.

Minister Coveney made the announcement during his visit to Lebanon, where he outlined the challenges the country is currently facing.

“Lebanon is facing enormous challenges and multiple crises from the impact of the Syrian conflict, economic difficulties and the aftermath of the devastating Beirut explosion last year – and all of this is occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. 

“Everything I have seen and heard during this visit emphasises the need to provide further support to the people of Lebanon – who have been so generous in hosting large numbers of refugees over many years.”

Coveney said that “we cannot lose time in addressing the devastating consequences of multiple difficulties in the everyday lives of the Lebanese people”.

“It is essential to provide humanitarian assistance now, and that we do so without taking away resources from the much-needed assistance to refugees in Lebanon from Syria and Palestine.”

The humanitarian situation in Lebanon has deteriorated steeply over the past two years.

Between April 2019 and April 2021, the consumer price index in the country increased by over 200% and the price of food and beverages by 670%. Over half the Lebanese population is living in poverty and 1.2 million children have not attended school since October 2019. Lebanon hosts the highest number of refugees per capita in the world.

Ireland has already provided €25 million in direct humanitarian grants to Lebanon since 2014, including €3.5 million to date in 2021.

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The direct recipients of Ireland’s grants to Lebanon in 2021 are:

  • €1.5 million to the UN’s Lebanon Humanitarian Fund that provides funding for critical humanitarian activities.
  • €7 million to UNRWA, of which €1 million to support Palestine refugees in Lebanon
  • Over €1 million to Concern and Trócaire for their work in Lebanon
  • Ireland also contributes to global funds and core funding to key agencies that allocate funding to Lebanon, including WHO, UNHCR, IFRC, ICRC and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.

At the weekend, the Minister arrived in Lebanon, where he visited Irish troops serving with the United Nations Interim Force Lebanon.

Alongside visiting Irish troops, Coveney’s itinerary includes meetings with political leaders, including the Minister for Defence and acting Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Chief of Staff of the Lebanese Armed Forces and with other political and civil society leaders in Lebanon.

As of 8 June, Ireland is contributing 564 personnel to various missions throughout the world.

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