Najat Rochdi, the UN’s Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon, highlighted her “deep concern” about the impact of the fuel crisis on health care and water supply, emphasizing the urgent need to avert a calamity.
“Thousands of people are at risk of plunging into a humanitarian catastrophe,” according to the UN Deputy Special Coordinator , “as a scarcity of fuel affects the supply of health services and water throughout the country.”
“Unless an immediate solution to this problem is found, the awful situation will only get worse,” Rochdi added. She emphasized that “the risks are quite high,” and that “all parties must work together to find a solution.”
“As a result of the country’s deteriorating social and economic situation, the health system is facing visible dangers, including insufficient liquidity, a lack of medicines, and medical personnel emigration,” Rochdi stated.
Hundreds of healthcare personnel have fled Lebanon, and crucial drugs like as antibiotics and chronic disease treatments are in short supply.
Due to a lack of gasoline and electricity, most hospitals in Lebanon have reduced their operations. The hospital’s activities were hampered by the disruption of the fuel-based municipal water supply and wastewater treatment systems.
“In light of Lebanon’s fresh wave of the COVID-19,” Rochdi said, “the current fuel crisis is sure to effect the deterioration of the country’s health situation.” “An ongoing gasoline shortage will jeopardize the delivery of life-saving treatments,” she said.
According to the United Nations, Lebanon’s Electricité du Liban has cut off key power supply to water firms, affecting over four million people.
Parallel to this, the primary stakeholders in the water industry are suffering a shortage of water supply consumables such as chlorine and pumping station spare parts, as well as a loss of ability to absorb their high costs.
The UN Coordinator emphasized that a lack of water increases the danger of infection, as well as disease rates and transmission. If a solution to this problem is not discovered, this could result in serious damage to the agricultural sector, jeopardizing food security.
Meanwhile, power outages forced the main water sector stakeholders in Beirut and Mount Lebanon to stop operations for a week, while their counterparts in the north and south faced severe fuel shortages, escalating social tensions and instability.
Rochdi demanded that the Electricité du Liban prioritize the restoration of power plants, calling it a “vital” problem for ensuring the availability of fundamental services such as health and water. It warned that the fuel shortage will cause humanitarian aid delivery to be disrupted.
The medical sector in Lebanon has numerous obstacles, not the least of which is the impact of the country’s fuel crisis, which many in the field believe it to be as one of the simplest crises because it ends with the availability of the necessary materials.
While several hospitals in Lebanon were nearing complete closure in recent days, fuel companies and specific stations, in addition to individual initiatives, contributed to ensuring diesel stocks for a number of hospitals, protecting the country from a health disaster.