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Lebanon: Beirut Port Explosions Situation Report No. 11 (As of 16 September 2020) [EN/AR]

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Lebanon
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OCHA
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HIGHLIGHTS

  • 19,000 individuals reached by protection partners since the beginning of the response.

  • Over 1,110 households reached with multi- purpose cash-based assistance across three affected neighbourhoods. Close to 200 micro, small and medium enterprises supported with rehabilitation works.

  • Over 2,220 persons reached with psychosocial support services, and over 1,300 women and girls provided with services related to sexual reproductive health and gender-based violence. Also, over 24,300 dignity kits distributed since the beginning of the response.

  • Provision of medicines and medical supplies continues, with five hospitals and one dispensary supported over the past week.

  • Over 7,500 shelter weatherproofing kits distributed to over 25,000 individuals since the beginning of the response.

  • Provision of WASH services to medical facilities continues, with 70m3 of water trucked to Geitawi Hospital over the past week.

  • Over 6,400 buildings assessed; water supply connection re-established for over 3,000 households, reaching over 15,000 people since the beginning of the response.

  • At least 6,800 hygiene kits and over 540 baby kits distributed since the beginning of the response.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

In Lebanon, the emergency humanitarian response to the 4 August explosions in the Port of Beirut continues to adapt to the evolving needs of the affected communities, progressing now towards the medium-term interventions that will pave the way for longer-term recovery and reconstruction. Aid agencies remain focused on delivering assistance to the most vulnerable people.

The Port has played a key role in Beirut’s history and economy. Situated at the center of the city, it is surrounded by some of Beirut’s most important neighbourhoods. The dense residential areas of Gemmayzeh and Geitawi are located to the west and Mar Mikhael and Quarantina to the east; the latter being the Ottoman quarantine station that marks the point of arrival and settlement of several waves of refugees throughout the decades. This cluster of neighbourhoods hosts many of Lebanon’s state and private services, including the electricity provider, a bus terminal and three major hospitals that were severely affected in the explosions.

With force equal to a 3.5-magnitude earthquake, the explosions had a devastating impact on peoples’ living conditions and livelihoods, testing peoples’ coping mechanisms and resulting in mounting protection concerns. Currently, shelter repairs, followed by food, cash and medication are the top priorities reported by residents affected by the explosions. Moreover, anecdotal evidence from food security partners points to an increasing number of people in need of food assistance in areas outside the immediate perimeter of concern related to the explosions. This supports highlighting the significant, pre-existing, needs beyond the 300,000 people targeted in the Flash Appeal by the UN and partners.

The Multi-Sector Needs Assessment (MSNA) supported by the Emergency Operating Cell Assessment and Analysis Cell is ongoing. The targeted area for the MSNA has been extended to cover all households within a 3-kilometer radius from the site of the explosions. As of 15 September, assessments have been completed for approximately 19,000 households, out of some 35,000 that are expected to be assessed by the end of October. Despite the considerable burden of assessments upon affected households, the importance of a comprehensive and accurate MSNA dataset cannot be underestimated in ensuring coordinated and effective reconstruction efforts going forward.

On 10 September, a fire broke out at one of the Port's warehouses where oil and tires were reportedly stored, generating panic in the nearby neighborhoods and reigniting the trauma and anxiety that communities have been dealing with since the 4 August explosions. This is the second fire since the explosions, and humanitarian partners have reported a high level of stress among the residents, especially children. The fire produced huge plumes of smoke, an issue for the many homes that still remain without windows. While the cause of the fire and its exact point of origin remain unclear, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported a part of their stock of food parcels at the warehouse caught fire. Since the immediate aftermath of the explosions, the ICRC, like other organizations, had worked to remove their stocks from the Port area. The ICRC expects the fire will have an impact on their humanitarian aid, whether in Lebanon or Syria, though the full impact is hard to ascertain at this stage. According to the Lebanese Red Cross, no individuals were injured on 10 September and only one case of smoke inhalation was reported. However, due to the fire some protection partners working in the affected areas had to halt community outreach activities for the day. Intensified mental health support services, specifically targeting children, were resumed the following day.

COVID-19 update

The COVID-19 outbreak in country remains a serious concern. As of 16 September, Lebanon’s total number of cases reached 26,083, with 259 deaths and 9,634 recoveries. Over 98 per cent of cases are among residents, confirming continued and widespread community transmission. Lebanon registered 634 new cases and seven deaths yesterday, 16 September. At least 824 healthcare workers have been diagnosed with the respiratory illness since February. The number of hospitalized patients continues to fluctuate and reached 426, with 120 patients in intensive care units (ICUs). Over the past month, the number of patients in hospitals doubled, while the number of patients in ICUs almost tripled, according to WHO. Protection activities related to outreach, risk mitigation, awareness raising and individual consultations became increasingly challenging with COVID-19 related restrictions.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.