UNESCO Cannot Proceed With Rebuilding Beirut Without A Government

Charles Platiau

A UNESCO fundraising conference for the rebuilding of schools, museums, and other cultural and heritage sites in Beirut has been canceled due to the absence of a new government, AFP reported quoting the UN agency.

In response to Beirut’s disastrous blast, the UN’s culture and education organization announced that they will organize two conferences to seek “considerable” funding to help rebuild Beirut.

Two events were in the work to restore around 160 destroyed schools as well as Beirut’s heritage and its cultural sector.

Audrey Azoulay, the UNESCO Director-General, had previously stated that a preliminary assessment showed $22 million would be needed just to rebuild the damaged schools.

Director general of the UNESCO Audrey Azoulay visits a blast-devastated school in Gemmayzeh. (DAP)

In addition to the 160 schools, 640 historic buildings have sustained damage, and approximately 60 of them are at risk of collapsing, according to Sarkis Khoury, head of antiquities at the ministry of culture in Lebanon.

However, as Lebanon remains without a fully functioning government since Hassan Diab’s Cabinet resigned following the deadly blast, UNESCO will not be able to go on with the donor conferences.

While the bickering of the politicians over the formation of a government continues, Lebanon is also at high risk of losing the unique opportunity to receive the promised international aid for its agonizing economy.

Patrick Durel, an adviser to French President Macron for the MENA affairs, had issued an ultimatum back in November for the rival politicians to quickly act in forming a rescue government.

Almost 3 months later, Lebanon is still without a government, and its ruling leaders are still holding on to their own priorities away from the state of emergency the country is in.

Meanwhile, crisis-ridden Lebanon continues to wrestle with a massive financial disaster that has plunged the Lebanese pound by more than 80% since 2019.

The health care sector is sinking under the overwhelming pressure of the coronavirus pandemic, impoverishment is dangerously expanding, and people’s anger is escalating in the streets.

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