The United Nations has refuted any claims to withdrawing support or winding up operations in Lebanon. It has termed discussions over social media about UN asking its employees to ready their passports are speculative as well.
Strangely, and for the first time since 2011, two World Food Programme (WFP) trucks were attacked as they tried to cross the northern coastal road to head to Syria. Civilian youngsters tried to stop the trucks on the pretext that their own people in Lebanon were hungry and there was corruption at play, as Lebanese were themselves trying to smuggle food from below the nose of the Lebanese deserving to the Syrians.
Unfortunately, the two trucks are still parked at the Port of Tripoli after Lebanese customs teams worked to protect them and return them to the port. It seems dubious news is being circulated via social media to look like as UN has wound up work in Lebanon and that it is favoring the Syrian refugee operations over Lebanon, that is also trying to survive the onset of the Corona virus pandemic.
According to the Malak Jaffar, the official spokesperson for WFP in Lebanon, the latter is a peaceful passage and the host country through which food items have been transported to Syria for many years now. Using Lebanon as a route also means the organization has to pump in some money into their economy as well. “WFP buys its materials from international markets and ships them for the benefit of the organization in Beirut. From there, Lebanese trucks transport these materials into the Syrian territories. We are ever and always grateful to Lebanon for this help,” he explains while clearing the air around the misinformation.
Currently, a convoy of 39 trucks struck in Lebanon; 37 at Beirut and 2 at the Tripoli port. With the Lebanese economy collapsed and dollar fallen to its currency, there is panic over the increasing risks of the corona virus led medical expenses and resulting number of deaths. Sheer desperation is leading to sit in by drivers at the Beirut and Tripoli port as well protesting over jobs being given to Syrian drivers and not Lebanese drivers. There are threats of port gates being closed as well.
Meanwhile more than 1 million refugees in Syria are awaiting food aid which comes through Lebanon, as an important logistic corridor. The Lebanese government might have to be talked into clearing up the rubble that is stopping important life sustaining aid to Syria. Jaffar has also stated that the aid being given to deserving Lebanese families is separate from what is being sent to Syria and that there was no need for speculation and panic.
To read more articles: