Lebanon: Complex emergency
Lebanon has been facing an evolving complex humanitarian crisis since late 2019, generating widespread and growing needs for assistance and protection. Two powerful explosions occurred at the Port of Beirut on 4 August 2020, leaving devastating impacts while the country grapples with overlapping economic and financial crises, political volatility and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country is also hosting the highest refugee population per capita in the world.
Technological and biological hazard preparedness
Technological and biological emergencies, sometimes called 'CBRN' (short for chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear hazards), can have devastating and long lasting impacts on people's lives and livelihoods. The IFRC supports National Societies worldwide to effectively prepare for and respond to technological emergencies using a multi-hazard approach.
Technological and biological hazards
Technological hazards originate from technological or industrial conditions, dangerous procedures, infrastructure failure or human activity. Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) hazards are all types of technological hazards. They are commonly grouped together because they share lots of similarities, and many of the preparedness and response measuresare the same or very similar. Learn more about these specific hazard types below.
Beirut Port Explosions: Survivors’ Needs on the Rise While Normal Life Seems Far Away
Beirut, 4 September 2020:
One month after the devastating port explosions in Beirut, the humanitarian needs of the survivors remain unmet and are growing every day.
The horrific disaster on 4 August killed at least 190 people, injured some 6,500 others, and left 300,000 homeless. The volunteers and staff of the Lebanese Red Cross are supporting more than 106,000 of the most vulnerable survivors with ambulance and medical services, psycho-social support, and assessing their short-term and long-term needs.
More than 6,000 households have been assessed to date, and the overwhelming majority – 96 per cent - need assistance with shelters, home repairs, medical care, medications especially for chronic diseases, cash and food assistance. Because of banking restrictions since October 2019, only 13 per cent reported having savings that they could access.
Mr. George Kettaneh, Secretary General of the Lebanese Red Cross, said: “In the very near future, the Lebanese Red Cross will start to distribute direct cash support for at least 10,000 families. We will spend 5 million US dollars every month on direct cash distribution to enable people having some level of dignity in buying their own food and fulfilling their own needs.
“In view of the impact and severity of this disaster, many people will depend on national and international donor support for a long time before they can rebuild their lives and their livelihoods.”
The assessments indicate that more than over half of the survivors assessed (57 per cent) have a family member living with a chronic illness that requires medication, 8 per cent are living with a disability, and 5 per cent are pregnant and lactating mothers.
There have been serious psychological and mental health impact on the general population, including staff and volunteers of Lebanese Red Cross. While the long-term effects are yet to be assessed, the Lebanese Red Cross is providing psycho-social support in three locations near the blast area. Its volunteers and staff are also working to maintain regular services such as emergency medical services and blood transfusion.
Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, Middle East North Africa Regional Director at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said: “The explosion is no longer in the headlines, but it is still affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who desperately need shelter repairs, medical care, medications, cash, and food. The Lebanese Red Cross are doing everything they can, but they need our and donors support to do more.”
The Lebanese Red Cross launched an appeal for 19 million USD to continue providing emergency medical services and relief operations during the first three months.
IFRC, in support of LRC plan, has appealed for 20 million Swiss francs (21.8 million US dollars) to scale up health, shelter and livelihood support over the coming 24 months. Donate here: https://supportlrc.app/.
In Beirut: Rana Sidani Cassou, [email protected]
Beirut explosion: thousands of families shocked and homeless in devastated city
The Lebanese Red Cross is working around the clock to support hundreds of thousands of people affected by Tuesday’s disaster at the Port of Beirut, with medical treatment, shelter and psychological support.
The National Society deployed Emergency Medical Teams and more than 125 ambulances to the site of the explosion, rescuing injured people and transporting them to medical sites despite some hospitals having been damaged. First aid and triage stations have also been set up to help people with less severe injuries. Red Cross teams are also distributing food, water, hygiene kits, mattresses, masks, gloves and other essential relief items to survivors.
The explosion killed 150 people and has injured more than 5,000. Some 200 people are still believed to be missing.
Huge numbers of people lost their homes in the disaster, with the Lebanese authorities estimating that as many as 300,000 people have been displaced. The Lebanese Red Cross is providing emergency shelter for 1,000 families for the first 72 hours after the crisis and plans to provide shelter to as many as 10,000 families in the coming weeks and months.
Trained volunteers and staff are also providing psychosocial support to survivors and are running Restoring Family Links services to help put separated family members and friends back in touch.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released 750,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to support the Lebanese Red Cross in providing assistance to 15,000 of the most affected people for two months.
The Lebanese Red Cross is appealing for 19 million US dollars to cover the cost of providing emergency medical services for three months. Donations can be made by wire transfer or via the iRaiser platform.