The International Rescue Committee, Community Jameel, and Toyota Motor Corporation announce collaboration, response to humanitarian crisis in Lebanon
The International Rescue Committee (IRC), Community Jameel, a leading supporter of science and technology-led solutions across international development, and Toyota Motor Corporation today announce a collaboration, which will leverage the three partners’ diverse but complementary resources and expertise in response to global challenges. For the collaboration’s first initiative, the partners have focused on Lebanon, supporting the IRC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing the long term impacts of the Beirut explosion in August, which left an estimated 300,000 people displaced.
The Beirut explosion came at a critical time when the people of Lebanon were already dealing with multiple crises, including an economic and financial collapse, and a decimated health system as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With hospitals already near capacity even before the blast, the country has since seen a 5,000% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases since August 4 and hospitals are now reportedly completely overwhelmed as the caseload continues to rise. The total number of cases now stands at 376,938, and over half of these have been confirmed in the first three months of 2021 alone. All together, these events have also caused significant disruption in education and livelihoods.
To mark the launch of this new multifaceted collaboration, Community Jameel and Toyota Motor Corporation announced a gift of eight Toyota vehicles to strengthen the IRC’s capacity for the response in Lebanon. The IRC will use the vehicles to support its staff of humanitarian aid workers in the region.
Su’ad Jarbawi, Regional Vice President for the International Rescue Committee in the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Over the past year, the situation in Lebanon has rapidly deteriorated. The cost of food has gone up more than 420%. People have lost their jobs and are struggling to provide for their families. Children are out of school and many are now working to try and contribute to the household income. More than a million people in Lebanon are now living in poverty and for many, life is a daily struggle. To make sure refugees and the most vulnerable communities don’t get left behind, we need our efforts to be redoubled, and fast, flexible support from our partners. That’s why we’re thrilled to work with Community Jameel and Toyota, who have recognized the multi-layered severity of this crisis. This kind of practical and innovative support is needed more than ever, and as a result our Lebanon response teams will be able to deploy these vehicles wherever they are needed most.”
George Richards, the Director of Community Jameel, said: “Our collaboration with Toyota and the International Rescue Committee brings together three very different organizations – from the worlds of science and technology, the private sector, and the humanitarian community – to leverage resource and expertise in responding innovatively to global challenges. Today, we are launching this collaboration with our support for the IRC’s response in Lebanon to the twin challenges of COVID-19 and the Beirut explosion. By deploying Toyota vehicles to enhance the IRC’s mobility – getting responders where they are needed fast – we are strengthening capacity and meeting urgent needs in a public health emergency. We look forward to working with Toyota, the IRC’s response team and the people of Lebanon to build a better future in the months ahead.”
This collaboration builds upon the IRC’s partnership with Community Jameel to respond to COVID-19 in Jordan, announced towards the outset of the outbreak. The relationship between the Jameel Family and Toyota Motor Corporation goes back to the 1940s, where it started as the first Toyota outlet in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and has grown to the largest vehicle distribution network in Saudi Arabia, as well as in 7 other countries in the MENA region. Today, the relationship includes the Jameel-Toyota Scholarship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the partnership with the IRC announced today.
The exclusive distributor of Toyota and Lexus in Lebanon, Boustany United Machineries Company s.a.l. (BUMC), will serve as the on-the-ground service provider for the eight vehicles as they are put to use across Lebanon in support of the IRC’s humanitarian programs.
Maria Rita Boustany, Manager of Marketing & Human Resources, at BUMC, said: “On behalf of the Lebanese people, BUMC s.a.l. would like to thank the International Rescue Committee, Community Jameel and Toyota Motor Corporation for the support in much-needed humanitarian efforts in the country. This partnership demonstrates a love and respect for humanity beyond borders. In the aftermath of the Beirut explosion, many citizens were displaced and faced rebuilding their lives & homes during an increasingly difficult economic situation, while facing COVID-19. For these reasons, BUMC s.a.l. and the Boustany family are grateful and certain that these Toyota vehicles will reach those who need help the most.”
Photo caption 1: Local firefighters in the street of Gemmayze, Beirut in the aftermath of the explosion. Photo Credit: International Rescue Committee.
Photo caption 2: IRC staff are visiting small business owners who have been impacted by the explosion in Beirut to assess whether they are eligible for economic support to help them recover their losses and to provide psycho-social support. Photo Credit: International Rescue Committee.