BEIRUT — A United Nations program to supply fuel to health facilities and water stations to keep their generators running will wind down in the next two months, UN resident Humanitarian Coordinator Najat Rochdi said during a tour of some of the facilities Wednesday.
Here’s what we know:
• The UN announced in September that it was allocating $10 million in humanitarian funds to provide fuel to hospitals, health centers and water pumping stations, which might otherwise stop functioning as they are relying heavily on diesel generators in the absence of state power supplies.
• From September through December, the operation delivered 7.7 million liters of fuel to 235 health facilities and 346 water facilities throughout the country, officials reported Wednesday, reaching 59 percent of its target for the health sector and 84 percent of the target for the water sector.
• During a tour Wednesday of several of the recipients of the fuel in the Chouf district — including Sibline Governmental Hospital, Ketermeya Primary Health Care Center and a water station in Barja — Rochdi said that the “exceptional intervention” to supply fuel to water establishments will end in February and the support to health centers and hospitals at the end of March.
• Rochdi said the UN “cannot take the place of the state” and called on the Lebanese government and local institutions to find “sustainable” solutions for the long term.
• “Actually, the initial agreement was that it would be only for three months, meaning that it would have finished in December, but because it was important to make sure that they had the time to prepare for alternatives and for more sustainable solutions, including, actually, the deal with Jordan for the electricity and with Egypt for the gas, it was important to extend it … and therefore we are able to go to the end of March,” Rochdi told L’Orient Today. She noted that some of the institutions receiving the fuel aid are also looking into installing solar power to help with their electricity supply.
• Lebanese, Syrian and Jordanian officials on Wednesday inked a deal for Jordan to provide electricity to Lebanon via Syria, and a separate deal with Egypt for gas is in the works, but the financing that Lebanon has requested from the World Bank for the two deals is contingent on the government adopting a reform plan for the electricity sector.
• Even with the UN assistance, electricity shortages affecting pumping stations have led to water cuts recently in parts of Beirut and Mount Lebanon.