Geneva, 9 August 2020 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) appealed today for 20 million Swiss francs (US$ 21.8 million dollars) to rapidly scale up emergency medical support and economic relief for survivors of Tuesday’s explosion at the Port of Beirut.
The blast, which came during a spike of COVID-19 over the past several weeks in Lebanon, poses additional burden on already fragile health infrastructures during a spiralling economic crisis. The IFRC is working closely with the Lebanese Red Cross to ensure additional COVID-19 prevention measures are in place for the long run, as aid workers continue working around the clock to support the more than 300,000 people displaced by the disaster with medical treatment, shelter and psychological support.
Hossam Elsharkawi, Regional Director of the IFRC in Beirut, said:
“At a time when people have been shaken to their core, this extra layer of support from the international community cannot come soon enough. I see no sign of our Red Cross teams on the ground stopping as they work around the clock to help people suffering from a now triple-layered emergency of economic crisis, COVID-19 and massive explosion.”
The Lebanese Red Cross has deployed Emergency Medical Teams and its country-wide fleet of 125 ambulances to the site of the explosion, rescuing the injured and providing first aid at triage stations. Red Cross teams on the ground have been evacuating patients from collapsed hospitals and initiating emergency blood transfusions, while distributing food, water, hygiene kits, mattresses, masks, gloves and other essential relief items to survivors.
Funds raised through the IFRC Emergency Appeal will go toward Lebanese Red Cross ambulance service and will support the purchase and delivery of emergency medical supplies, medicine, livelihood support and the rehabilitation of damaged Lebanese Red Cross premises.
The explosion has killed more than 150 people and injured more than 5,000. Some 200 people are still believed to be missing.
The Lebanese Red Cross is already providing emergency shelter for 1,000 families and plans to continue sheltering 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 helping to put separated family members and friends back in touch through Restoring Family Links services.