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Lebanon: Beirut-Port Explosion, Emergency Appeal DREF Operation n° MDRLB009

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This Emergency Appeal seeks a total of some 20 million Swiss francs on a preliminary basis to enable the IFRC to support the Lebanese Red Cross to deliver assistance and support to the people affected by the Beirut-Port explosions populations for 24 months, with a focus on health, livelihoods and basic needs, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene promotion (WASH), taking into consideration the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the economic collapse in the country. The planned response reflects the current situation and information available at this time of the evolving operation and will be adjusted based on further developments and more detailed assessments. This is based on the Lebanese Red Cross mandate and priorities within their role in the national disaster response plan, in coordination with the national authorities and other actors present.

This Emergency Appeal incorporates priorities defined in the Lebanese Red Cross appeal (click here - Information Products) issued on 5 August which are specified in the section under ‘Areas of Focus’ with a longer timeframe to enable the Lebanese Red Cross to address the deeper and more persistent ramifications of the disaster.
Detailed breakdown of the sectorial funding requirements will be made available soon through further assessment and analysis.

The operational strategy

Summary of Red Cross response to date

Since the explosions, Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) mobilized and deployed its Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs)3 and ambulances to the site, to provide emergency first aid and evacuate the injured to the closest medical facilities available. Up to 75 ambulances and 375 EMTs and staff are currently responding in Beirut to help the most vulnerable. LRC also quickly established first aid and triage stations in at least two locations downtown to provide assistance to those with non-critical injuries. LRC were also actively encouraging blood donors to donate at Blood Transfusion Service (BTS) centres as there was an urgent need for all blood types. This need has since been met. Three days since the disaster, LRC continues to coordinate its response with the national authorities as well as local and international actors present and responding on the ground. To date, LRC has been receiving strong bilateral support and contributions from national and international donors, governments and Movement and non-Movement partners.

Needs assessment and targeting Thousands of people have been affected. Health facilities in Beirut and surrounding areas are still over-crowded with patients suffering all sorts of injuries, many of which are the result of flying glass. Authorities indicate at least 158 deaths with up to 21 people still missing and over 6,000 people injured as of 8 August, and Lebanese authorities estimate up to 300,000 people are displaced from their homes across the Greater Beirut area. The psychological impact of the explosions for the entire population of Lebanon was also huge. On 5 August 2020, the Government of Lebanon declared a two-week state of emergency in Beirut, and all import and export of commodities have been redirected to the smaller port of the City of Tripoli, in Northern Lebanon.

The key priorities are emergency first aid and medical assistance, psychosocial support, emergency shelter and related WASH services, as well as basic needs (food and other household needs) assistance. Looking ahead, the initial analysis indicates that interrupted access to essential health services and supplies of medicines are and will remain critical needs. Several hospitals are damaged and/or inaccessible and were already stretched due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Many people have lost possessions, business premises both large and small, and hence their livelihoods, at a moment when the economic situation for the majority of Lebanese, as well as for Palestine and Syrian refugees in Lebanon, is desperate. Few people have access to an adequate social safety net and as the situation worsens, many will be unable to afford the cost of even basic healthcare.

In the mid- to longer term, it is essential to ensure and maintain access to basic healthcare especially in the face of the socio-economic crisis, and to support the rehabilitation and recovery of the LRC Emergency Medical Service (EMS), blood bank resources and services.

Beyond the immediate lifesaving actions and assistance needed and currently being delivered by LRC and other actors on the ground in the aftermath of the explosions, the ongoing socio-economic crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, further exposes and increases the vulnerabilities of large segments of the population most directly affected by the explosions, over the coming months. Likewise, the explosions increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19, as facilities providing isolation and care for confirmed cases have been affected, and displaced people are sheltering in close proximity to many others, rendering physical distancing impossible.

LRC issued their appeal on 5 August for approximately USD 19 million for 3 months. At the time of writing, LRC is consolidating needs and damage assessment results and is working to revise its appeal, based on information available to date. This IFRC’s Emergency Appeal, launched on behalf and at the request of LRC, covers a longer implementation timeframe, recognizing that whilst the LRC plan is for the emergency response period, the mid- to longer-term recovery, rehabilitation and social and economic aspects will require resources as well, and the proposed timeframe of this operation is to enable LRC to meet the needs of the most vulnerable with a responsible use of available resources. This proposed plan is derived from the priorities of LRC and their mandate as outlined in the national disaster response plan. It highlights certain elements of the existing LRC response plan now under revision, and it expands upon the areas of a longer-term nature, in order to provide the continuity of support that LRC will be expected to offer to the affected population in due course.