UN has signed a two-year agreement with an Italian agency to repair the Mar Mikhael Railway station in Beirut and the many housing units damaged by the Beirut Blast in 2020.
The agreement is estimated to be worth 2.3 million euros and was signed between the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-habitat) on Wednesday, August 10th.
Its purpose is to rehabilitate and bring life back to Mar Mikhael and to restore damaged housing units.
The Italian Ambassador to Lebanon, Nicoletta Bombardiere, signed the agreement on behalf of the AICS and the Head of UN-Habitat Lebanon Country Programme, Taina Christiansen.
The Italian Ambassador said the project “will allow people in Beirut to rediscover the old train station of Mar Mikhael and its historical relevance.”
“Upgrading and accessibility of green spaces, as well as conservation and requalification of urban sites, are the core of the Italian Cooperation interventions,” she stated.
She noted that Italy will still work on doing other good things in the country, saying: “At the same time, we remain committed to responding to basic needs, such as social housing, restoring the cultural and social fabric of mostly affected neighborhoods.”
The project is titled “Ensuring safe public spaces and adequate housing for all within the city of Beirut.”
“Inclusive public spaces are key to the sustainability of healthy, happy, safe, and prosperous cities and communities,” issued Taina Christiansen, Head of the UN-Habitat Lebanon Country Programme.
“We at UN-Habitat greatly value the support of the Government of Italy through this project. Together we will revitalize public spaces areas within the Mar Mikhael train station and ensure adequate housing within the same area,” she said.
The Mar Mikhael train station, long abandoned, was transformed in 2014 into a dapper outdoor bar with a DJ playing occasionally, using an abandoned locomotive as a booth.