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UNIFIL peacekeepers step up support to host communities’ fight against COVID-19

UNIFIL Italian Contingent donated three innovative laryngoscopy video systems to the public hospitals of Bint Jbeil and Tibnin and to the municipality of Tyre. (UN Photo/Sergeant Marina Dore)

With a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country recently, UNIFIL peacekeepers have ramped up support to the host communities in southern Lebanon in their fight against the virus.

In recent weeks, UNIFIL peacekeepers from Ghana, Italy, the Republic of Korea, Nepal and Spain have offered a wide range of support to deal with the ongoing health emergency affecting the communities within their areas of responsibility.

The support, targeted at boosting local capabilities, covered three of four main districts within the Mission’s 1,060 square-kilometre area of operations – Tyre, Bint Jbeil and Marjayoun. These districts host several hospitals, which are important referral centres for the management of COVID-19 cases. These areas have been particularly hard-hit by the virus.

Most of the donations consisted of much-needed medical consumables, such as masks, personal protective equipment and suits, sanitary liquid, thermometers, and foot-operated sanitizer dispensers.

In addition, Italy also donated three innovative laryngoscopy video systems, capable of viewing clear and real-time images of a patient's airways, to the public hospitals of Bint Jbeil and Tibnin and to the municipality of Tyre. These will help medical staff on the front lines diagnose and treat serious cases more quickly.

Likewise, Korean peacekeepers also donated multivitamins, which are in short supply in Lebanon, to schoolchildren. They also donated generator sets to the Lebanese Armed Forces, UNIFIL's strategic partners, to enhance their emergency response capacity.

Several contingents donated needed items to specific villages to help them stop the spread of the virus, and treat those who had become ill. Ghana supported the villages of Marwahin and Ayta al-Sha’b in south-western Lebanon. Nepal supported residents of the south-eastern villages of Meiss ej-Jebel, Houla, Majdal Slim, Shaqra, Blida, Tallousah, Markaba and Mahibib. Spain supported eight villages and state institutions within the Arkoub Union of Municipalities in the south-east.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, UNIFIL peacekeepers have offered various types of support to local communities as they strived to prevent the spread of the virus. Peacekeepers have adhered to strict precautionary measures at all times while carrying out mandated activities as well as those supporting the fight against COVID-19.