World Bank: $300 Million to Scale-Up Support to Poor Lebanese Households

A 10-year-old tourist guide walks inside Khan al-Franj in Sidon's old city, in southern Lebanon May 7, 2023. REUTERS/Aziz Taher
A 10-year-old tourist guide walks inside Khan al-Franj in Sidon's old city, in southern Lebanon May 7, 2023. REUTERS/Aziz Taher
TT

World Bank: $300 Million to Scale-Up Support to Poor Lebanese Households

A 10-year-old tourist guide walks inside Khan al-Franj in Sidon's old city, in southern Lebanon May 7, 2023. REUTERS/Aziz Taher
A 10-year-old tourist guide walks inside Khan al-Franj in Sidon's old city, in southern Lebanon May 7, 2023. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a $300 million additional financing to expand and extend the provision of cash transfers to poor and vulnerable Lebanese households.

A World Bank statement said Thursday that the approval will further support the development of a unified social safety net delivery system in Lebanon to allow a better response to ongoing and future shocks.

This new package represents the second additional financing to the Emergency Crisis and COVID-19 Response Social Safety Net Project (ESSN) project ($246 million) originally approved in January 2021 to help Lebanon address the impact of the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic on the poor and vulnerable population.

The project already benefited from a first additional financing of $4 million in May last year.

“This second additional financing will continue to help Lebanon protect its population from the impact of various crises, as well as help the country develop a targeted and digital social safety net system,” said the statement.

“Going forward, Lebanon would need to secure the fiscal space needed to finance social protection needs, including social safety nets, over the long term,” it said.

The additional financing will enable the Lebanese government to continue to respond to the growing needs of poor and vulnerable households, said World Bank Middle East Country Director Jean-Christophe Carret.



UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
TT

UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)

Palestinians in the Israeli occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are suffering a drastically worsening human rights environment, alongside "unconscionable death and suffering" in the Gaza Strip, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.

"The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is dramatically deteriorating," Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The West Bank, where the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule under Israeli occupation, has seen the worst unrest for decades, in parallel with the war in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas.

Turk said that from the start of the Gaza war in October through mid-June, 528 Palestinians, 133 of them children, had been killed by Israeli security forces or settlers in the West Bank, in some cases raising "serious concerns of unlawful killings".

Twenty-three Israelis have been killed in the West Bank and Israel in clashes with or attacks by Palestinians, he said.

In Gaza, Turk said he was "appalled by the disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law" by parties to the war.

"Israel's relentless strikes in Gaza are causing immense suffering and widespread destruction, and the arbitrary denial and obstruction of humanitarian aid have continued," Turk said.

"Israel continues to detain arbitrarily thousands of Palestinians. This must not continue."

He added that Palestinian armed groups were continuing to hold hostages, including in populated areas, which put both the hostages and civilians at risk.

Israel's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva accused Turk of "completely omitting the cruelty and barbarity of terrorism" in his address to the UN Human Rights Council.

"Hostilities in Gaza are the direct result of Hamas terrorism, decades of rocket-fire and incitement against the Jewish people and the State of Israel, culminating in its brutal attacks against Israel on October 7," the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

Israel's ground and air campaign was triggered when Hamas-led fighters stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in Gaza, according to its health authorities, and left much of the enclave's population homeless.