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UNHCR Flash Update on Lebanon: Beirut Port Explosions, 20 September 2020

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Situation Overview Operational update

The response to the Beirut port explosion is shifting gears. Humanitarian actors’ immediate emergency activities, including UNHCR’s, are clearly transitioning to the next phase. The focus is now on medium-term responses to support affected women, girls, men and boys that remain in the affected areas or that have moved away. The greatest needs expressed remain shelter, food and cash assistance. In parallel, development approaches and longer-term activities are being activated by the UN, World Bank and European Union.

Despite a relative stabilization in the situation, the 4 August explosion is still very present, economically, psychologically and in terms of visible physical damage. The fire that erupted in the port on 10 September continued to burn at low levels for the following days, emitting fumes in the areas most affected by the explosion and entering homes that are still without windows. Repair and rehabilitation of dwellings is a clear priority, especially in view of the approaching winter. Affected persons will continue to need support to recover from the multiple consequences of the blast.

Situation Overview Operational update

UNHCR is coordinating and responding directly to needs in the shelter and protection sectors, appealing for USD 35 million (USD 32.5 million and USD 2.5 million respectively). In total, UNHCR aims to reach over 100,000 affected persons through all its interventions.

Our sector coordination aims to bring partners together and gain consensus on standards, prevent gaps and overlaps, maximize efficiency of aid, and encourage accountability to affected populations. For instance, repair and rehabilitation standards have been harmonized with partners, emergency cash assistance for Protection is consistent between partners, while prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) measures are being strengthened and mainstreamed throughout sector interventions. The shelter sector leadership has also been actively engaged with the Lebanese Armed Forces’ Forward Emergency Room (FER) to ensure smooth collaboration.

We are also supporting the overall coordination with expertise in information management and mapping, since the beginning of the response. In particular, the zoning system developed by UNHCR remains the key tool to prevent overlap and duplication. Beyond humanitarian actors, it has also been adopted by the Lebanese Armed Forces assigned by the Government to coordinate the emergency from the Government’s side.