The following statement was issued by AAI President James J. Zogby and ATFL President Ambassador Edward Gabriel:
Lebanon has been suffering from economic and political turmoil that has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the country in an economic freefall of hyperinflation and rampant unemployment.
The explosion in the capital’s port on August 4 has killed dozens and injured thousands. The fallout of the accident, including both the immediate damage and the long road toward recovery, could cause millions of more people to fall into hunger and desperation. Lebanon is also host to the highest number of refugees-per-capita of any country in the world, who will need ongoing support in this dire time.
What the U.S. and International Community Must Do
While nearly all nations face challenges of the coronavirus, those with the financial means must send much-needed humanitarian support to Lebanon, including direct food and medical assistance. Specifically, we call on the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Emergency Preparedness and Response program to provide immediate food assistance and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide any necessary medical equipment, capacity, and expertise. The Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) must coordinate immediate relief efforts with Lebanese officials.
We further call on the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) to immediately offer logistical assistance to Lebanon in coordinating the response of various local, regional, and international humanitarian actors.
What You Can Do:
Individuals should please consider donating to the below organizations, which are already assisting in immediate aftermath of this tragedy:
Lebanese Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org.lb/SubPage.aspx?pageid=1370&PID=158
Amel Association: https://amel.org/
International Rescue Committee: https://www.rescue.org/country/lebanon
Lebanon Needs You: https://lebanoncrisis.carrd.co/#