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Lebanon: Humanitarian response continues one week after port explosion

11 Aug 2020


UN personnel and humanitarian partners have joined efforts with local residents to clean up the streets in the most devastated areas close to the blast that occurred in Beirut’s port. Credit: UN/Pasqual Gorriz

One week following the port explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, the death toll in Beirut continues to rise, with up to 220 people reported to have died and 110 people still missing, according to local authorities.

Lebanese authorities have announced that the search-and-rescue efforts have concluded. Search teams have transitioned to a recovery operation.

Humanitarian and recovery needs are far-reaching and will require substantial and long-term commitment to help the people of Lebanon get back on their feet.

A rapid assessment of 55 primary health-care centres in Beirut found that 37 per cent of them were damaged, 13 per cent had health workers injured in the blasts and less than half (47 per cent) are able to provide full routine health services.

Organizations working in the shelter sector are supporting needs assessments, mobilizing emergency weather-proofing materials, helping with repairs and rehabilitation, and providing shelter kits.

In coordination with Lebanese authorities and the Lebanese Red Cross, a rapid shelter assessment identified districts in close proximity to the blast site (Gemmayzeh, Mar Mikhael, Ashrafiyeh and Qarantina) as priority districts.

Initial water, sanitation and hygiene assessments found tens of buildings without water.

Three World Food Programme (WFP) cargo flights have arrived with logistics equipment to enable the Beirut Port to become operational, including mobile storage units and other equipment as a temporary solution for the destroyed grain silos.

WFP has also allocated an additional 5,000 food parcels for families affected by the blasts. Each parcel is sufficient to feed a family of five for one month.

An initial shipment of 17,500 metric tons of wheat flour is due to arrive at the Beirut Port in the coming 10 days to supply bakeries for one month.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 situation remains extremely alarming, with a resurgence of positive cases, including among health-care workers.

Extensive efforts are being undertaken to link the response of COVID-19 to the blast emergency response to promote awareness and preventive measures.

As of 10 August, 295 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded, and 6 new deaths. In total, 6,812 cases and 82 deaths have been reported.

The UN is committed to support the people of Lebanon during this difficult time and is continuously working to alleviate the immediate suffering of the people.