New York/Beirut, 14 August 2020) The UN and humanitarian partners have launched a US$565 million appeal to help the people of Lebanon move from immediate life-saving humanitarian relief towards recovery and eventually longer-term economic recovery, following the Beirut Port explosions.
The series of devastating explosions on 4 August destroyed most of the port, flattened surrounding neighbourhoods, damaged six hospitals and more than 20 health clinics, and destroyed 120 schools. It left 178 people dead, 6,568 injured, and thousands homeless.
The appeal seeks funds for humanitarian partners to help people in need in Lebanon by targeting:
- Food security – with the immediate delivery of hot meals and food rations and deliveries to stabilize the national grain supply.
- Health – through the rehabilitation of damaged health facilities, and the provision of trauma kits and essential medications.
- Shelter – by providing cash for shelter for families who relocated due to damage to or destruction of their home and funding the repair of common building areas and facilities that were affected by the blast.
- Education – including repairing schools and providing education supplies and psychological support for children.
The Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon/Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator, Najat Rochdi, said:
“The scale of the loss from the Beirut explosions is so vast it is likely every single person in Lebanon has been touched by this terrible event. I have seen firsthand the destruction and the fear, but I have also witnessed the remarkable strength and dignity of the people of Lebanon, who have reached out to assist each other with love and compassion.
“The task of rebuilding people’s lives and recovering from the devastation is only just beginning. I urge the international community to demonstrate their steadfast commitment to the people of Lebanon and repay in turn Lebanon’s incredible generosity to Syrian and Palestine refugees with full financial support for this appeal.”
The explosions came as Lebanon faces a multi-faceted crisis. In recent months, economic contraction, increasing poverty, and rising prices have compounded needs among Lebanese and non-Lebanese communities, including the large Syrian and Palestine refugee populations. Meanwhile, increasing COVID-19 transmission is straining the country’s health systems. As of 12 August, 7,413 total cases had been recorded. Fifty per cent of total infections recorded to date have been diagnosed in the past two weeks alone.
Today’s appeal seeks funds for costs associated with the first two phases of what will be a three-phase response to the explosions. The immediate humanitarian response, which has been swift and wide-ranging, is the first phase. It must quickly move into the second phase – recovery and reconstruction, which will cost billions of dollars and require a mix of public and private finance. The third element is responding to Lebanon’s pre-existing socioeconomic crisis which is already exacerbated by COVID-19.
The humanitarian community is committed to supporting the people of Lebanon at this difficult time. UN agencies and partners – including national and international NGOs, as well as volunteers and local communities – are working round the clock to support the response to the explosions. This support includes:
- UNHCR-run mobile health clinics are providing medicines and health services to those most in need with more than 2,000 people receiving medication for acute and chronic conditions.
- UNICEF has facilitated the logistics and distribution of 10,000 tetanus vaccines, 42 emergency kits and emergency drugs to primary health care centres in need.
- Some 5,000 female hygiene kits have been provided to affected women and girls, following a UNICEF rapid needs assessment. UNICEF is also providing food and water alongside clothes and detergents to 700 children and their caregivers.
- A WFP shipment of 17,500 metric tons of wheat flour is due to arrive at the temporarily operational Port of Beirut. The first wheat flour shipment is due to arrive by 20 August.
- UNFPA is supporting an estimated 129,000 women and girls displaced by the Beirut explosion, including roughly 4,000 expectant mothers.
- WHO has delivered trauma and surgical supplies to 10 major hospitals. They contain essential medicines and medical supplies needed to immediately support more than 1,000 trauma interventions and 1,000 surgical interventions.
- Mobile medical units operated by Amel Association, International Medical Corps, and Caritas have been deployed in several affected areas, to reach the most vulnerable, including the elderly and people with disabilities.
- Shelter Sector partners, working closely with the Lebanese Red Cross and other partners, have conducted more than 3,500 emergency shelter needs assessments and distributed 839 shelter kits (including plastic tarpaulins, timber and ironmongery) in affected neighbourhoods.
- Caritas has distributed home appliances and baby items to 40 families, hygiene kits to 133 people, hot meals to 30,000 people and food to 700 people in need.
The appeal is available online.
For more information, please contact:
Zoe Paxton, OCHA New York, + 1 917 297 1542, email@example.com
Jens Laerke, OCHA Geneva, +41 79 472 9750, firstname.lastname@example.org
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA’s activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.