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The French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Solidarités International (SI) signed a 12 million euro grant agreement to fund a natural disaster risk management project which would particularly target flood risks in Lebanon

Lebanon is very prone to a wide range of natural hazards: more specifically, the regions of Akkar and the Beqaa are exposed to flooding. AFD aims to protect local populations, especially the most vulnerable, from the risks of natural hazards by funding the implementation of disaster prevention and response actions at the local and national levels.

In the context of the economic crisis in Lebanon, the preservation of healthy housing conditions, services, and infrastructure and the creation of employment opportunities for the most vulnerable are the main social shock absorbers. This project aims to respond to these challenges,” said Bruno Foucher, the Ambassador of France to Lebanon  

The project is co-funded by AFD and the Danish International Development Agency (Danida). Project management is entrusted to Solidarités International (SI), which will pass part of the funding on to the French Red Cross (FRC) and the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC). “Denmark is proud to support the natural disaster management project alongside French and Lebanese friends,” stated Mrs. Merete Juhl, the Ambassador of Denmark to Lebanon.

Designed in collaboration with Lebanese institutional actors, Disaster Risk Management Unit (DRM-U) and the National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS), and based on the experience of the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) in disaster risk management at the local level, the project intends to prevent and reduce the risk of floods, prepare disaster response and strengthen the capacities of Lebanese frontline actors in disaster risk management, including DRM-U and the LRC. 

The Country Director of Solidarités International in Lebanon, Mathieu Nabot, emphasized, “The objective of this project is to support the national strategy of the DRM-U and develop an efficient and reproducible model of integrated risk management in river basins. This model should allow communities and local actors to become more resilient and improve their means and capacities for disaster prevention, preparation, and response, particularly when it comes to the flooding of two targeted river basins.” 

This project strengthens social cohesion, the relationships between different communities that are exposed to the risks of natural disasters.  This is one of AFD’s strategic priorities in the Middle East,” commented Olivier Ray, AFD Regional Director for the Middle East. Due to an increase in torrential rains and poorly regulated urban development (e.g. the extension of built-up and urbanized areas with no planning, construction over watercourses, etc.), floods in Akkar and the Beqaa have multiplied since the early 2000’s. The winter of 2019 was marked by dramatic floods that affected more than 200,000 people, necessitating a call for the urgent intervention of many humanitarian and state actors. Such risks are likely to become more frequent in the short term as a result of climate change, which is predicted to increase the intensity of heavy rains.

This project is funded by the Minka Middle East Initiative, through which AFD has been helping mitigate fragilities in countries close to Syria and Iraq since 2017 so as to reduce the risks of conflict spilling over to the two countries.

Press Relation Manager: Nada Haddad