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Damour Municipality Center Groundbreaking Ceremony

Damour Municipality Center, Damour | Saturday, June 22, 2013

Deputy Elie Aoun,
Former Minister Mario Aoun,
Qa’im-ma-qahm Marlene Kahwagi,
Municipality President Charles Ghafari,
General Maroun Hitti (TBC),
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Thank you, President Ghafari. I am very pleased to be here with you this afternoon at the groundbreaking of the new Damour Municipality Center.  When completed, the center will not only provide new administrative offices for the municipality, but also include offices for the Lebanese Red Cross, training rooms for emergency first responders, and ambulance services for the benefit of not only Damour, but also the surrounding communities in the lower Chouf. 

This project was funded by the Civil Military Support Element (CMSE) at the U.S. Embassy in close cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).  This project demonstrates the Embassy’s enduring partnership with Colonel Yousef Mechref and the LAF Office of Civil Military Cooperation in strengthening humanitarian assistance programs throughout Lebanon for the benefit of the Lebanese people.

The new Damour Municipality Center also represents our close partnership with the municipality.  I would particularly like to thank President Ghafari, Municipality Secretary General Chaker Bou Abdallah, and Dr. Amin Kazzi for their leadership and vision in developing this meaningful project.  The people of Damour are reinvesting in and rebuilding their community after conflict, helping to heal old wounds and develop positive linkages and partnerships with nearby communities that reflect the richness of Lebanon’s diversity.  It is these efforts among thousands of others that contribute to a more stable, sovereign, independent, and prosperous Lebanon.

We hope that the Damour Municipality Center will be the first link in a network of emergency and disaster relief centers in the Chouf that will provide ambulance, search and rescue, and emergency medical services throughout the region.  This network will allow patients to be stabilized more quickly and improve care so that critical patients can be transferred to larger medical facilities and save lives.

Over the past two years and in cooperation with the LAF, the Embassy’s Civil Military Support Element has provided $1.7 million in small-scale humanitarian, infrastructure, and disaster relief programs.  They have helped rehabilitate public schools, provide winter clothing to Syrian refugee and Lebanese children, and distribute medical supplies and offer preventive medical care for rural Lebanese communities.

We look forward to our continued cooperation with the LAF in these projects and with the people of Damour.  Thank you.