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Humanitarian aid donated by World Food Program (WFP), are unloaded at Beirut's port Humanitarian aid donated by World Food Program (WFP), are unloaded at Beirut's port 

Clean up continues in Lebanon, new donor conference on the cards

Cardinal Bechara Rai, the Maronite Patriarch of Lebanon has expressed his gratitude for Pope Francis’ call for a Day of Prayer and Fasting for the suffering nation to be held on 4 September. Meanwhile, as Nathan Morley reports, the new Premiere is scrambling to form a new government as a vast clean-up effort continues in Beirut after last month’s devastating explosion.

By Nathan Morley

Even though Emmanuel Macron has promised to host another donor’s conference to support Lebanon, he has made any bailout conditional on a government that implements reforms by the end of October.

He wants to know the true extent of Lebanese debt, the state of the banks and a review of the entire economy.

The central bank is now a key focus of French scrutiny.

On top of that, the French president wants an end to corruption and a new era of transparency in the country, which is wracked by debt, unemployment and economic stagnation.

Macron’s presence in Beirut this week was viewed by some as a sign that a financial package they had been pleading for was on the cards.

During his visit, Macron toured Beirut's port to follow up on the work at the site after huge explosions last month destroyed thousands of buildings, leaving 300,000 people without a roof over their head.

Current estimates of damage from the port explosion in early have risen to over 3billion USD. In a new report, the World Bank stated that transport and housing are among the sectors worst affected.

Meanwhile, contamination from hazardous chemicals and water pollution, are among the most urgent challenges faced by the Lebanese authorities and UN teams tackling the huge task of clearing up Beirut.

The UNDP estimate that the cost of cleaning up the environmental degradation resulting from the explosion will be over $100 million.

Listen to the report by Nathan Morley
03 September 2020, 15:53