UN and U.S. aid for Lebanon as health sector teeters on edge of collapse

BEIRUT — The United Nations announced $10 million to support the health sector in Lebanon as the economic collapse further squeezes hospitals. Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths said that $6 million will be allocated to help 65 hospitals, as well as basic health facilities and pharmacies. In addition, $4 million will be used for fuel to ensure the continuity of health, water, and sanitation services, including fuel insurance for four water pumping stations.

In related news, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) visited Beirut and met with U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea, Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri, and PM-designate Najib Mikati.

Sen. Blumenthal said there is no need for Lebanon to rely on Iranian fuel, with Sen. Murphy adding that any fuel smuggling operations through Syrian territory are subject to the Caesar Sanctions. Sen. Murphy stressed that the U.S. is actively working on ways to solve the fuel crisis by organizing supplies from Egypt through Jordan and Syria.

Lebanese Energy and Water Minister Raymond Ghajar said he had not received a request to import Iranian fuel. Hezbollah recently announcement that Tehran had sent three shipments of fuel to Lebanon.

Sen. Blumenthal stated at Beirut airport ahead of his return home that Hezbollah is a rampant cancer that must be eradicated.

He also warned that Lebanon is collapsing and expressed hope and confidence in forming a government as soon as possible, hopefully within a week, that could begin addressing the crisis.