ECW responds to Beirut explosion with 1.5 mln USD to rehabilitate damaged schools
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Education Cannot Wait (ECW), a UN-hosted global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, on Friday approved 1.5 million U.S. dollars in new education in emergency funding in response to last month's explosion in Beirut.
The new funding comes just one month after the Aug. 4 blast, which damaged 140 schools and affected at least 55,000 Lebanese and non-Lebanese students.
Through the ECW grant, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in close coordination with Lebanon's Ministry of Education and Higher Education, will support the rapid rehabilitation of approximately 40 schools in the area of the explosion, allowing at least 30,000 children and youth whose schools were damaged to resume their learning in a physically safe environment during the 2020-2021 school year, said an ECW press release.
"Beirut has suffered a lot, but will rise again. We need to support the young generation to sustain and this means rehabilitating their damaged schools without delay," said Yasmine Sherif, director of Education Cannot Wait. "We know that our strategic partner UNESCO, working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, will be able to rapidly rehabilitate 40 damaged schools for these girls and boys."
Severe destruction of the schools has been reported by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and education sector, including crumbling walls, broken windows, leaking roofs, and broken desks and chairs. School water and sanitation facilities have also been damaged, further exacerbating the ongoing health crisis posed by COVID-19.
Compounding economic and political crises are putting over a million children and youth at risk in Lebanon. Analysis from ECW's 2019 Annual Report indicates that approximately 631,209 Syrian children and 447,400 vulnerable Lebanese children faced challenges accessing education in 2019.
The approval of Friday's additional funding builds on the results from ECW's 2.3-million-U.S.-dollar grant for Lebanon, which ran from August 2018 to February 2020.
ECW, hosted by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), is the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies. It was launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings. Enditem