The below is attributable to Spokesperson Jessica Jennings:
Today, Administrator Samantha Power concluded her first full day of a multi-day visit to Lebanon. Following her arrival yesterday afternoon, she visited the National Museum of Beirut and learned about the government’s efforts to preserve Lebanon’s world-renowned cultural antiquities. She then met with officials from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the United Nations to discuss the international community’s ongoing responses to the challenges facing the Lebanese people, including the recent cholera outbreak, food security, and the devastating economic crisis.
This morning, Administrator Power traveled to West Beqaa where she met with dairy farmers and fodder planters to discuss USAID support for the Lebanese agricultural sector amid growing food insecurity in the country. The engagement with local producers also highlighted how Putin's war on Ukraine has increased the difficulty of obtaining critical agricultural inputs, such as seeds and fertilizers. Administrator Power announced that the United States will provide an additional $72 million to support food assistance for more than 650,000 additional people in Lebanon, including refugees from Syria and other countries.
At a USAID-funded solar-powered water pumping station in Majdel Anjar, Administrator Power saw how USAID is working to simultaneously provide necessary services for vulnerable Lebanese communities while also addressing the rising costs of fuel. Administrator Power toured the solar farm and water pumping station that is providing potable water to 19,0000 residents and significantly expanding water access for the local community. This is one of 41 solar sites around the country where USAID has helped improve basic services. While in Majdel Anjar, Administrator Power announced funding for 22 future projects that will support additional communities throughout Lebanon.
During her visit, Administrator Power met with local families impacted by the economic crisis and rising food insecurity. In West Beqaa, Administrator Power visited the home of a Lebanese family that receives USAID-supported food assistance and heard first-hand about the challenges parents in Lebanon face as they try to provide for their children amid a historically damaging economic crisis. In Beirut, Administrator Power met with a Syrian refugee and discussed the difficulties facing many refugee communities in Lebanon. The Administrator underscored strong U.S. support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of refugees in Lebanon, as well as the deep gratitude of the United States for Lebanon’s generosity in hosting refugees.
The Administrator concluded her day with a dinner with local business leaders who are working to grow the private sector and create employment opportunities that are critical for future economic recovery. In their discussion, business leaders shared their perspective about government reforms and other steps that are needed to provide a path forward to economic stability for Lebanon.