Beirut, 4th August - It has been one year since the explosion in Lebanon's capital. In response to the blast, People in Need (PIN) started immediately supporting affected people, providing them with basic needs as well as helped to repair damaged homes and small enterprises. Although responding to the emergency and reaching more than 11,000 people, PIN is still on the ground to support vulnerable people.
As soon as the scale of the explosion became clear, PIN released 500,000 CZK (20,000 EUR) from its Club of Friends fund to support the city's massive relief efforts. Afterward, PIN established the SOS Lebanon fundraiser to gather financial support for the affected residents of Beirut and released additional funds from the Club of Friends. Thanks to the money from the Club of Friends (in total 1,000,000 CZK) and the fundraiser (1,400,000 CZK), PIN could provide immediate assistance to 11,500 people afflicted by the explosion that had lost their homes or livelihoods.
The shock wave destroyed an area up to five kilometers from the port of Beirut and caused extensive damage. According to the Beirut governor, 300,000 people lost their homes, some of them at least temporarily, some of them completely. The death toll of the explosion was more than 200 people.
Initially, the main priority of PIN's response was reparation of damaged houses to allow people to return to their homes as soon as possible. Together with our partner PIN Slovakia and Green Helmets, we helped repair 371 homes so approximately 1,855 people could return.
Apart from the basic reconstruction of destroyed houses, PIN, through its Club of Friends fund, also supported medical help and provided essentials like food, hygiene kits, milk and nappies for children, and hot meals for the elderly with special needs. Together with People in Need Slovakia and three other local associations, we supported 9,480 people.
Small businesses were also affected in Beirut, such as small bakeries, markets, laundries, and hairdressers. After a comprehensive inquiry, we chose 37 businesses which obtained financial support, material, and necessary equipment. The project was implemented in cooperation with a local NGO SHiFT and largely funded from the SOS Lebanon fundraiser. This form of support was essential for the renewal of income generating activities, as well as bringing life back to the ravaged quarters of Beirut.
Even though the fundraiser SOS Lebanon has now closed, after a swift reaction last year, PIN is firmly determined to continue its efforts to support vulnerable people in Lebanon. Due to the disastrous economic crisis Lebanon is going through, PIN will aim to support projects focused on maintaining livelihoods and employment opportunities of vulnerable Lebanese and refugee communities.