BEIRUT: U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Robert Watkins said Saturday the international organization had set up a fund to help various groups assisting victims of last week’s explosion in the Beirut district of Ashrafieh.
“The High Relief Committee has taken steps to help people and the U.N. has also set up a fund to channel donations of U.N. staff members to different organizations helping the victims, but we need to explore what more can be done to get people back on their feet,” Watkins said, speaking at the site of the car bombing that killed at least three people and wounded over 100 others.
According to a statement by the United Nations Development Program, Watkins’ visit aimed at assessing the aftermath of the car bombing and highlights the need to enhance Lebanon’s disaster preparedness.
Last week, a car bomb, estimated to have contained 50 kilograms of TNT, ripped through a neighborhood of Ashrafieh, killing at least three people, including Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan.
Hasan was the head of the Internal Security Forces Information Branch.
Watkins said the explosion underlined the need for drafting legislation to establish a “a new Disaster Management agency with enhanced powers, covering preparedness as well as response.”
“While the response of the Civil Defense, in coordination with the Lebanese Red Cross and the security forces, was both immediate and effective, the new legislation will further improve the country’s ability to prepare for and respond to any kind of natural or man-made disaster,” Watkins said.