UNESCO has just announced the completion of its project to rehabilitate the 280 educational institutions that were damaged by the explosions at the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020. This ambitious project was completed in a record time of 18 months.
The double explosion that devastated much of the city on August 4, 2020 destroyed or damaged 80% of downtown Beirut’s infrastructure, including 280 educational institutions. At least 85,000 students were then deprived of school. Faced with this tragedy, the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, quickly went there to launch an ambitious international initiative, entitled “Li Beirut” (“For Beirut” in Arabic), in order to support the Lebanese population. and the reconstruction of the city.
UNESCO and its partners appealed to donors who responded by providing $35 million, the total amount needed to meet the needs. Thanks to these funds, the rehabilitation work could be launched quickly and, despite the pandemic, it has continued until it is completely completed today.
“Only 18 months after the disaster, we are happy to report that the promise that was made is a promise kept. Thanks to donors, the mobilization of UNESCO teams and that of our partners, the objective of rehabilitating the 280 damaged educational institutions has been achieved,” announced Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on Monday.
“This is concrete proof of the ability of our Organization to mobilize and act quickly in the event of a major crisis. UNESCO is committed to supporting its Member States and ensuring access to education, which is a fundamental right,” she adds.
In detail, these 280 educational institutions consist of 228 schools, 32 universities and 20 training centers. UNESCO particularly thanks Education Above All Foundation and Education Cannot Wait for their important participation in the “Li Beirut” initiative.
In addition to the rehabilitations, UNESCO provided equipment and furniture, as well as appliances to universities and public schools. It has also worked on the renovation of eleven school libraries in the capital, training librarians and teachers, and collecting books.