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Safety and security in Lebanon

Lebanese capital police hub restored by the ILO following Beirut port explosion

The restoration of the building housing Beirut’s municipal police force is a critical step towards maintaining the safety and security of the city and its population and has created scores of decent jobs for local residents.

Press release | 14 April 2022
© Hani Baltaji
BEIRUT (ILO News) – Beirut’s municipal police force station, severely damaged during the Beirut Port explosion of 4 August 2020, has been fully restored by an ILO project, providing much-needed jobs to the local population, boosting the local economy, and preserving the city’s cultural heritage.

The station, housing the Beirut Guards Regiment headquarters, is located near the Beirut seafront in the city’s historic Karantina district, one of the areas most severely damaged by the explosion.

Due to the importance of the station to the safety and security of Beirut’s residents, the ILO prioritized restoration of the building as part of the country- and UN-wide response to the Port explosion.

The station was restored by the ILO’s Employment Intensive Infrastructure Programme in Lebanon (EIIP Lebanon), funded by Germany through the German Development Bank KFW.

“The ILO, through the EIIP programme, was one of the first organizations to mobilize its resources and provide immediate response in the areas most affected by the explosion,” said ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat during a ceremony to inaugurate the newly-restored building. “The EIIP in Lebanon provides optimal short-term employment for vulnerable populations, including Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees.”

Jaradat noted that the EIIP Lebanon programme has generated around 600,000 accident-free working days for over 16,000 beneficiaries since its launch in 2017, including women and persons with disabilities and special needs.

© Hani Baltaji
“Work in the areas that were affected by the explosion is far from over, as many government institutions, UN agencies and NGOs continue to restore the affected neighborhoods. The ILO, for its part, has begun restoring the nearby Customs Directorate building and restoring and upgrading the pedestrian network in Karantina,” Jaradat added.

“Throughout the years, Lebanon has been struggling with multiple crises, compounding and adding pressure to various sectors, especially basic services and public infrastructure,” said UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, Najat Rochdi.

“The restoration of Beirut’s municipal police building has not only generated more than 160 jobs but also has created a more decent working environment for police officers who in turn will be able to provide better safety and security to local communities,” Rochdi said.

“With funding by Germany through the German Development Bank KfW, this project was able to re-establish a suitable work environment for the police office of Beirut to allow them to resume their responsibilities and to optimize their working conditions in an already very difficult working and living environment,” said Ambassador of Germany Andreas Kindl.

“We hope Beirut’s police officers will again be able to execute their very important tasks as they were able to do prior to the horrific port explosion,” Kindl added.

From left to right: Ambassador of Germany to Lebanon Andreas Kindl; Governor of Beirut Marwan Abboud; ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat © Mohamad Bitar / ILO
The Governor of Beirut Marwan Abboud, speaking on his own behalf and on behalf of the Minister of Interior and Municipalities Bassam Mawlawi whom he represented at the inauguration event, said: "The Beirut explosion was a major setback that changed the life of the city and of Lebanon for the coming dozens of years, and caused irreparable human loss. Once again, I salute and mourn the fallen martyrs, and I pray that all the wounded are healed.”

"I say to the international community: when you help the Beirut municipality to improve its buildings and restore them, you do not only help the authorities. There is no separation between the authorities and the people. These buildings do not belong to me or to the Beirut Guard Regiment, but rather to the Lebanese people. This building that you helped us restore deserves these efforts. In addition to being a historical building, it will serve as a base for the Beirut Guards Regiment. We cannot increase the Guards’ salaries, but we are at least providing them with a safe work environment,” Abboud said.

The ILO’s EIIP Lebanon programme began restoration work on Beirut’s municipal police force station eight months ago, following extensive consultations with ministries, the Governor’s office and the Beirut Municipality.

The building, believed to have been originally built as a family home during the French Mandate period in the early part of the 20th Century, was restored at a cost of US $210,000.

EIIP is a global ILO programme that supports government, municipal and community services through construction and maintenance of infrastructure assets such as roads, schools, social and community centres, as well as through environmental and agricultural activities.