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Lebanon: Humanitarian response update

10 Sep 2020

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Beirut, 14 August 2020. Credit: OCHA/Farid Assaf

In Lebanon, the emergency humanitarian response continues to keep pace with evolving needs before longer-term recovery and reconstruction begins.

The World Food Programme completed the delivery of 12,500 metric tons of wheat flour at the Beirut Port. This supply has helped replace the 15,000 metric tons stored at the silos at the time of the explosions.

More than 74,000 hot and ready-to-eat meals have been provided to affected people, and 21,200 households have received food vouchers or in-kind food parcels.

During the past week, humanitarian partners have assisted more than 5,100 households, including through the distribution of shelter weatherproofing kits to more than 1,070 households, the reestablishment of water supply to 1,662 households, and the installation of 26 water tanks at two hospitals closest to the explosion site.

Since the beginning of the response, more than 7,060 shelter kits have been distributed, more than 7,900 people have been reached with re-established water supply and 5,740 buildings have been assessed for water and sanitation interventions.

Many affected families have moved to other parts of Beirut due to the lack of affordable and safe shelter in areas severely affected by the explosions.

Humanitarian partners are concerned that protracted displacement has exacerbated protection risks and concerns, especially for women and children. Assessments indicate that some households may be displaced for up to a month, others for a longer, indefinite period.

UNICEF has warned of the particular risks faced by children. Of the mor ethan 6,000 people reported injured in the blasts, 1,000 are children. In addition, approximately 100,000 children saw their homes either completely or partially destroyed and may suffer trauma. UNICEF estimates that up to 600,000 children could suffer from some form of psychological shock/distress.

The UN also notes the reported fire at the Beirut Port today, in one of the warehouses. Operations to extinguish the fire are ongoing, and the extent and cause are still to be confirmed.

At the same time, COVID-19 is concerning. Lebanon’s total number of cases of the virus reached 21,877, with 212 deaths and 7,024 recoveries, as of 9 September. Approximately 400 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, with about half of them in intensive care units.

To date, the UN-coordinated response to the explosions, seeking US$344.5 million to address immediate life-saving needs for three months, is less than 17 per cent funded. Support is needed to scale up emergency relief efforts for the most vulnerable and to prevent the situation from worsening.

Beyond humanitarian assistance, Lebanon requires substantial and long-term assistance to support economic reform, recovery and reconstruction.