UNESCO plans 2 donor conferences to raise fund for Beirut blast repairs

by MCR Correspondent

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has announced plan to organize two donor conferences to fundraise for efforts to rebuild Beirut after a massive explosion devastated the city on 4th August.

The explosion had rendered at least 300,000 of Beirut’s residents homeless, damaged over 8,000 buildings including 160 schools and 640 historic buildings.

Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO’s Director said that, “The first conference would be a meeting of the Global Education Coalition dedicated to Lebanon, the organisation set up to support remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic.”

Azoulay said the explosion has affected the schooling of over 85,000 children in Lebanon, exacerbating the difficulties faced by a system that has struggled to adapt to remote learning.

“The conference will focus on preparing the country to get children back to education, most likely online, at the start of the academic year next month and seek funds to rebuild damaged schools,” he added.

Azoulay made an estimate of repairing educational establishments at over $22 million, based on a preliminary assessment.

The second conference which is likely set for September, will aim to secure funds to repair Beirut’s culture and heritage sectors, which Azoulay termed “the soul of Beirut”

Speaking at a press conference held at Beirut’s famous Sursock Museum on Wednesday, Azoulay said the cost of the city’s cultural repairs could top hundreds of millions of dollars.

“We need several hundred million dollars for the heritage,” Azoulay said.

“What UNESCO can bring is expertise, guarantees on transparency and guarantees on the integrity of the restoration standards,” he added

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