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Today, UN-Habitat in the presence of Mihara Kiyoshi, representative of the Japanese Ambassador to Lebanon; HE Przemysław Niesiołowski, Polish Ambassador to Lebanon; Mardig Boghossian, Mayor of Bourj Hammoud; and Joanna Wronecka, United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, inaugurated five newly rehabilitated alleys in Maraach, Bourj Hammoud.
Thanks to the support provided by Polish aid and as part of a larger urban recovery project funded by the Japanese government, the project was able to regenerate the alleys by responding to pre-existing explosion needs and others identified after the explosion of the port of Beirut.
The closing event included a visit inside the alleys of Maraach, where officials met project beneficiaries and heard their first-hand perspective on how the project has helped improve their lives and those of their families. the community at large.
“Having experienced the horrific repercussions of the first two nuclear explosions in human history, Japan’s priority to respond quickly to help Lebanon following the devastating explosion in the port of Beirut, n “is not only due to the historical diplomatic relations that bind the two countries, but also out of deep sympathy for the Lebanese people. Japan will continue to support Lebanon during its recovery journey, considering that the stability of Lebanon is essential for the stability of region,” said Mihara Kiyoshi, representative of the Japanese ambassador to Lebanon.
“Poland received great support from our friends around the world when it was most needed. Now, to the best of our abilities, we offer our solidarity and assistance to those who find themselves in a difficult situation. We were doing it for Lebanon for the past few years. I am happy that despite all the challenges, together with UN-Habitat, the Japanese Embassy, the Municipality of Bourj Hammoud and the Polish Center for International Aid, we have been able to bring about positive change and assistance to those who need it,” said HE Przemysław. Niesiołowski, Polish Ambassador to Lebanon.
”This multi-sectoral project has proven to be an excellent testimony to the importance of improving social cohesion during the most difficult times. We are very grateful for this timely and much needed contribution from the Government of Japan, Polish Aid and UN-Habitat,” said Mardig Boghossian, Mayor of Bourj Hammoud.
“Today’s visit to Bourj Hammoud and the meeting with some of its inhabitants highlighted two realities: we can make a difference and bring hope to people despite the painful impact of the socio-economic crisis. aggravated by the explosion in the port of Beirut,” the UN said. Special Coordinator Joanna Wronecka. “The rehabilitation work in this neighborhood undertaken so skilfully by our colleagues at UN-Habitat with the support of Japan and Poland reflects the determination of the United Nations and the international community to continue to support Lebanon and his people. But, added the Special Coordinator, “a long-term recovery will only be possible when meaningful reforms are implemented and people’s interests are put first.”
The project rehabilitated 90 building facades and 5 alleys improving mobility and street safety and access to basic urban services. It included the installation of solar panels, which provide green, reliable and cost-effective lighting to the community, its public spaces and streets, improving safety, with the surplus fed back into the national grid. The community was involved at every stage of the project, from design to implementation, using their skills to support the rehabilitation works, through cash-for-work, while a local advisory committee oversaw the interventions of the project.
UN-Habitat and the Polish Center for International Assistance (PCPM) trained and distributed firefighting equipment to 54 community members and delivered a customized rapid response vehicle with a high-pressure pump for use in dense urban areas at the Lebanese Civil Defense Center in Bourj Hammud. The Center has also been empowered by its members through cash-for-work.
”We are proud of how this project has helped the people of Maraach through some of the toughest times Lebanon has seen. As we continue to apply an area-based approach to help Lebanese cities recover from ongoing crises, we reaffirm our commitment to improving the lives of people across the country as we move towards a better urban future,” said Taina Christiansen, Head of UN-Habitat’s Country Program in Lebanon.
The project, entitled “Improving the well-being of host and refugee populations in the Maraach sub-district in Bourj Hammoud” and funded by Polish aid, was launched in 2019, but following the explosion in the port of Beirut. , additional support was needed, thus the government of Japan, supported in the rehabilitation of 3 alleys.
This intervention is also part of the larger UN-Habitat project entitled “Support for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the most vulnerable urban areas of Beirut affected by the port explosion” funded by the Government of Japan. It includes multiple interventions, including the rehabilitation of 11 heritage buildings with heritage value and key public facilities of the Rmeil cluster; COVID-19 awareness and installation of hand washing stations; improved livelihoods through cash-for-work activities; support within the framework of municipal services – provided to the Beirut Fire Center in Karantina; and improvements to Laziza and William Hawi parks.