American University of Beirut, Beirut
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
I am speaking to you today from AUB, one of our key, longstanding partners, and I offer my special thanks to Dr. Fadlo Khouri for his tireless work for the Lebanese people, including during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. government is committed to supporting the people of Lebanon and is making a difference in people’s lives, helping the Lebanese to confront this pandemic. We have been shifting some of our existing assistance programs to respond to evolving needs on the ground.
Today, I am pleased to announce additional new U.S. government assistance to Lebanon to combat the spread of Coronavirus, in the amount of $13.3 million. This assistance includes $5.3 million in international disaster assistance from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for activities to help the most vulnerable Lebanese. Specifically, this assistance will support private health care facilities to properly manage patient care, ensure continuity of essential health services, enhance communication and community outreach. It will also increase access of vulnerable communities to water, sanitation and hygiene. Finally, it includes $8 million in Migration and Refugee Assistance funding for the United Nations Refugee Agency to help refugees and Lebanese host communities in need.
Again, this new assistance is in addition to existing U.S. support, which has been reshaped over the past month to allocate more than $12 million to address Lebanon’s emerging pandemic-related needs. For example, beginning in March 2020, USAID’s QITABI program began reallocating $10 million to assist over 50,000 disadvantaged students across Lebanon by providing distance learning and by broadcasting school lessons online, on television, and via other media platforms while education facilities remain closed due to the Coronavirus crisis. In the last 20 years, the United States has provided nearly $4.9 billion in bilateral assistance to Lebanon, including more than $187 million in health assistance. Over the last 10 years, $11 million of USAID has specifically supported the construction, rehabilitation, and equipping of medical facilities at the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese American University. For decades, the United States has been the world’s largest provider of assistance in public health worldwide.
The United States is providing funding and assistance to combat the Coronavirus pandemic because it is consistent with our values and interests. America is a force for good. We want to help improve the lives of the Lebanese people. We stand with the people of Lebanon in these challenging times. We are in this together.