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On Tuesday, August 11, a week after the Beirut explosion that killed many and devastated the city, people marched and held a vigil in honour of the victims. (Picture: Adyan Foundation)
Yet another crisis for the people of Lebanon
By September 3, 2020, the catastrophic blast at Beirut’s port had killed over 192 and injured more than 6,500 people. Around 300,000 families who lost their homes are now in need of shelter, food and assistance. Although our partners stepped in to help them right since day one, their needs are immense. This crisis will require not just an immediate response today, but a sustained response well into the future to support durable and equitable solutions for the Lebanese people and the refugee and migrant populations they host.
This is yet another trial for a people already struggling with an unprecedented social, economic, and political crisis. The explosion sent a wave of injured people to hospitals and clinics, many of which had themselves been damaged or destroyed by the blast. Moreover, these medical facilities, short of resources because of an ongoing economic crisis, had already been struggling to cope with the COVID-19 crisis.
In recent months, economic contraction, increasing poverty and rising prices have compounded the needs of the Lebanese people and the estimated 1.5 million refugees who live in Lebanon. Many are sinking further into debt. Having destroyed the country’s main grain reserves and the port that handles all its food imports, the explosion has also created a threat to the precarious food and social security of the population.
Political instability further complicates the situation. Since the government resigned under public pressure on August 10, there has been no agreement on a new political trajectory and the process continues to be stalled.
Our partners’ work: Adyan Foundation launches the ‘We stand with Beirut’ initiative
Within days of the explosion, Adyan Foundation launched an initiative to help affected people. It called upon its own networks of youths, volunteers, ambassadors and families; members of the Forum of Religious Social Responsibility; and other community members to join volunteering actions to secure urgent needs for the blast victims. Responding to the call in huge numbers, volunteers quickly began clearing debris from the streets and distributing food, water and essential items. In the medium and longer term, Adyan Foundation will concentrate its emergency response of four key priority areas—mental health, small business repairs, house repairs and food security.
Our partners’ work: Caritas Lebanon focusing on vulnerable families who have lost everything
In the immediate aftermath of the blast, Caritas Lebanon rapidly deployed teams to the affected areas to:
- Supply food parcels and help with initial clearing up work
- Offer hot meals to homeless people
- Provide medical services, medicines and hygiene kits to injured people and affected people
- Provide temporary accommodation to people whose homes were destroyed
Until August 27, Caritas Lebanon had provided over 44,500 hot meals and other urgent help to over 64,500 people. Caritas Lebanon will now determine how to best support the people of Lebanon on the longer term.
Lauren, volunteer at Caritas Lebanon
Lauren began her journey with Caritas Lebanon in January 2020. Since the explosion destroyed Beirut’s port and ravaged its precincts, she has been continuously supporting the organisation by distributing food to people in need.
“We are working round the clock,” Lauren says. “Sometimes, I am in the food tent day and night to distribute food items. All I hope is that people are equally supported.” She thanks organisations and people from outside Lebanon for their donations that support this work. She says they make her believe again in humanity.
Maritta, the medical school graduate