28 March 2022 - Today UNESCO announced the completion of its project to rehabilitate the 280 educational institutions damaged by the blasts that hit the port of Beirut on 4 August 2020, in a record time of 18 months.
The twin explosions devastated swathes of the city on 4 August 2020, destroying or damaging 80% of Beirut’s city centre infrastructure, including 280 educational institutions. They keep at least 85,000 students out of school. Just after this tragedy, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, went to Beirut to launch the ambitious international initiative Li Beirut (‘For Beirut’ in Arabic) to support the Lebanese population and the recovery of the city.
UNESCO and its partners immediately appealed to donors who have responded to this call, providing USD$35 million: the total cost of the needs. Thanks to these funds, rehabilitation works started quickly. And despite the pandemic, the work continued until it was fully completed today.
Just 18 months on from the disaster, we are pleased to announce that it’s a promise kept. Thanks to donors and to the mobilization of UNESCO team and all our partners, the goal of rehabilitating the 280 damaged educational institutions has been reached. It is a demonstration of our Organization's ability to mobilize and act quickly after a major crisis. UNESCO is determined to support its Member States and contribute to access to education, which is a fundamental right.
Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General
In detail, these 280 educational institutions are 228 schools, 32 universities and 20 training centers. UNESCO particularly thanks Education Above All Foundation and Education Cannot Wait for their significant participation in the Li Beirut initiative.
In addition to rehabilitation, UNESCO also provided equipment and furniture items, as well as appliances to universities and public schools, and carried out restoration work in eleven school libraries in the capital, training librarians and teachers and collecting books.