Beirut, 28 July 2020 – UN-Habitat Lebanon has designed, produced and installed the first communal handwashing stations in Lebanon to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other similar health risks.
The stations in four urban neighbourhoods in Beirut (Sabra and Daouk Ghawash) and Mount Lebanon (Maraach and Nabaa in Bourj Hammoud), will benefit nearly 30,000 people including vulnerable Lebanese residents, refugees and migrants in poor urban neighbourhoods.
This is the first time in Lebanon that handwashing stations have been installed in the streets, on pavements, in vacant municipal spaces, next to public facilities (educational, religious), and in municipal gardens, making handwashing available and accessible to all, especially marginalized community groups.
“Awareness, water and proper sanitation are the first line of defence against the spread of COVID-19. Through the provision of communal handwashing stations and awareness raising, this project aims to reduce COVID-19 risks and exposure, targeting vulnerable Lebanese, refugees and migrants, residing in specific urban areas in Lebanon,” said Taina Christiansen, Head of UN-Habitat Country Programme in Lebanon.
Public spaces in vulnerable neighbourhoods in Beirut and Mount Lebanon were selected to host 22 handwashing stations. This was achieved in close collaboration with the Municipality of Beirut, Municipality of Bourj Hammoud, and the Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD), a local NGO in Beirut.cio-economic crisis.
“This is a very important initiative by UN-Habitat, at a time when the city of Beirut has reactivated measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, especially in the most vulnerable areas. We will cooperate with the municipality to ensure that the people are safe and comfortable,” said Marwan Abboud, Governor of Beirut.
The easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Lebanon to allow economic activity to resume, comes as the socio-economic crisis in the country continues to deepen. At the same time the number of COVID-19 infections are on the rise meaning the project comes at a critical time.
“These handwashing stations are vital to the community and shows that UN-Habitat’s projects are innovative and proactive and ahead of everyone else. I cherish the opportunity of working with UN-Habitat for the benefit of this community and I look forward for a long lasting relationship,” said Hayat, a community activist in Nabaa, Bourj Hammoud.
“We would like to thank UN-Habitat for this great initiative at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading. This allows us to keep our children safe, where we wash our hands before entering the house.” said Merfat, a mother and a local resident in Daouk-Ghawash gathering.
As part of the wider United Nations supported Government of Lebanon COVID-19 response, UN-Habitat is rolling out a series of COVID-19 projects in some of the most vulnerable urban neighbourhoods in Lebanon to help communities mitigate the effects of the pandemic and the ongoing socio-economic crisis.