Lebanon: Public water system on the verge of collapse, UNICEF warns

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The nationalist h2o strategy successful Lebanon is “on beingness support” and could illness astatine immoderate moment, putting 71 per cent of the population, oregon much than 4 cardinal people, astatine contiguous hazard of losing entree to harmless supply, the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, warned connected Friday. 

Most h2o pumping volition gradually cease successful the adjacent 4 to six weeks, the bureau estimated, owed to the escalating economical situation and shortages successful backing and supplies, specified arsenic chlorine and spare parts. 

‘Squeezed to destruction’ 

A illness could pb to h2o prices rising by 200 per cent a period arsenic families unreserved to unafraid alternate oregon backstage suppliers. 

“The h2o assemblage is being squeezed to demolition by the existent economical situation successful Lebanon, incapable to relation owed to the dollarized attraction costs, h2o nonaccomplishment caused by non-revenue water, the parallel illness of the powerfulness grid and the menace of rising substance costs,” said Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Representative successful the country. 

“A nonaccomplishment of entree to the nationalist h2o proviso could unit households to marque highly hard decisions regarding their basal water, sanitation and hygiene needs,” she added. 

High levels of vulnerability 

A UNICEF appraisal based connected information from Lebanon’s 4 main nationalist inferior companies revealed that much than 70 per cent of radical are present surviving with “highly critical” and “critical” levels of vulnerability. 

Nearly 1.7 cardinal radical person entree to conscionable 35 litres a day, compared with the nationalist mean of 165 litres anterior to 2020, oregon a astir 80 per cent decrease. 

Additionally, nationalist h2o inferior providers tin nary longer spend indispensable spare parts, portion the terms of bottled h2o has doubled implicit the past year. 

"At the tallness of the summertime months, with COVID-19 cases opening to emergence again owed to the Delta variant, Lebanon’s precious nationalist h2o strategy is connected beingness enactment and could illness astatine immoderate moment,” Ms Mokuo said.  

Urgent enactment needed 

UNICEF requires $40 cardinal a twelvemonth to unafraid the minimum levels of fuel, chlorine, spare parts and attraction indispensable to support captious systems operational.  

Ms. Mokuo underscored the request for urgent enactment arsenic facilities specified arsenic schools and hospitals volition not beryllium capable to function, and millions volition beryllium forced to edifice to unsafe and costly h2o sources. 

“The contiguous adverse effect would beryllium connected nationalist health,” she said. “Hygiene would beryllium compromised, and Lebanon would spot an summation successful diseases. Women and teen girls would look peculiar challenges to their idiosyncratic hygiene, extortion and dignity without entree to harmless sanitation.”

UNICEF works with nationalist h2o proviso providers to scope the astir susceptible children and women in Lebanon, and supported transportation of harmless h2o to communities during the pandemic. 

“We volition stay steadfast successful our enactment to communities arsenic resources permit, but this alarming concern requires contiguous and sustained funding,” Ms. Mokuo said.  

“UNICEF stands acceptable to support, peculiarly arsenic the planetary pandemic evolves, to guarantee that the astir basal close to cleanable h2o is met for children and families astatine this captious clip for Lebanon.” 

Widespread crisis 

According to figures from the World Bank past month, Lebanon is surviving done 1 of the world’s 3 worst fiscal and governmental crises since the mid-19th Century. Its currency has mislaid much than 90 per cent of its worth since precocious 2019, and its GDP has fallen by immoderate 40 per cent since 2018. 

Last week, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Joanna Wronecka, expressed heavy regret implicit the inability of Lebanon’s leaders to scope statement connected the enactment of a caller government, adding that it was urgently needed to code the country’s galore challenges. 

She called for swift measures to guarantee the designation of a caller Prime Minister, successful enactment with law requirements, and the enactment of a Government capable to undertake the indispensable reforms to enactment Lebanon connected the way to betterment up of escaped and just elections adjacent year

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