The Slovenia Times

Lenarčič says EU responded to Lebanon crisis immediately


Addressing the press at the EU House in Ljubljana after an international donor conference on Lebanon, Lenarčič said the purpose of the conference initiated by France and the UN had been to mobilise teams from all over the world to help Lebanon.

Currently, the exact needs for aid are being assessed although some countries have already made concrete pledges about aid they are willing to provide, he said.

The European Commission responded to the crisis immediately through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, sending the first team of experts to the country on the day of the explosion, the commissioner from Slovenia stressed.

The teams there include experts to help coordinate the distribution of humanitarian aid, and also a team of experts in chemicals investigating the cause of the accident, he noted.

So far the EU has allocated EUR 33 million in aid to the country, and the Commission has proposed that another EUR 30 million be sent there in the first phase of offering humanitarian aid. This is now to be approved by the European Council and Parliament, Lenarčič explained.

Currently, more than 20 teams of experts from all over the world are in Lebanon, two-thirds of them from the EU, he said.

Asked about the safety of these teams, Lenarčič said they also include security experts and that currently it had been assessed that the teams are in no danger. The response of the local population has been very positive, he added.

After this first phase of offering humanitarian aid, efforts for the economic revival of the country are envisaged. But to receive this aid, profound reforms will be needed, Lenarčič said.

Asked to elaborate on this, the commissioner said donors had made no conditions for the humanitarian aid, which goes straight to the people who need it.

In the next phase, however, cooperation with the government will be required, and in order for this to be possible some changes will be needed in the country, he said.

Lebanon has had many problems before, including financial problems, poverty, and health problems, especially because of Covid-19, so the Tuesday explosion, which claimed more than 150 lives and left 100 missing, 6,000 injured and 300,000 people homeless, only added to the misery.

Slovenia has allocated EUR 200,000 for emergency humanitarian aid to the country and sent a humanitarian aid coordinator there through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism on Friday.

The financial aid is being distributed through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and Caritas Internationalis.


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