Three months after the explosion, the country still faces major humanitarian challenges
Humanity & Inclusion (HI) responds to humanitarian needs following the explosion on 4 August in Lebanon.
Beirut, Lebanon. Ramadan Haj Dandal 23, and his mother Houriya Dandal, from Aleppo, in their home in Beirut. | © Tom Nicholson/ HI
The explosions in Beirut on 4 August killed more than 200 people, injured more than 6,500 others, and caused widespread material damage. The explosions directly affected some 220,000 people living in an estimated 73,000 apartments in 9,100 buildings within three kilometres of the epicentre.
In Beiruth, situation is extremely tense. The serious economic crisis has left many in despair. A quarter of Lebanese people now live under the poverty line. Many families cannot afford to access basic services like healthcare or even buy food. The political situation continues to cause widespread resentment. In this very unstable environment, the COVID pandemic is an additional burden and source of stress.
HI was one of the first NGOs to assist victims of the explosion by supplying rehabilitation care and mobility aids. HI now provide follow-up care to casualties with long-term rehabilitation needs: after surgery and primary health care, people with traumatic injuries such as fractures, amputations, brain, peripheral nerve or tendon injuries, or burns require continued support to recover their functional independence and prevent long-term impairment. The organization also supplies medical first aid kits to treat light injuries outside already overstretched hospitals.
HI also provides psychosocial support to people traumatised by the explosion. Damaged homes, a dire economic situation, and political turmoil can cause severe anxiety.
In the coming month:
HI will support reconstruction efforts and ensure they are accessible to people with disabilities or reduced mobility by sharing its expertise with other NGOs. For example, HI will provide technical assistance to teams from other NGO (NRC Shelter) to ensure rehabilitated sites and temporary relocation centres are safe and accessible for people with pre-existing and newly acquired disabilities. HI will also support CAMEALEON through NRC so teams have the tools and knowledge to include people with disabilities in impact assessments and monitoring.
- HI will extend its advocacy and awareness-raising efforts on disability mainstreaming in some working groups with Norwegian Refugee Council and International Rescue Committee as entry points, to promote systematic identification of needs of vulnerable people.
- HI and its local partner Mousawat will provide people with disabilities or injuries including blast-related injuries and disabilities with access to specialised services based on its mental health psychosocial project and rehabilitation. Mental health services and support for the most vulnerable increase functional independence and help prevent long-term mental illness.
- HI teams will identify the mental health needs of every individual in a household, alongside other urgent needs - medical, financial, hygiene, food/nutritional, rehabilitation, and continuity of care. Teams will then refer them for assistance. External referrals will be made to other humanitarian actors, with internal referrals for psychosocial support. HI will train Mousawat and its consortium partners to adapt their support to older people or people with disabilities or limited mobility, and provide home-based services via mobile teams for hard-to-reach populations potentially left out of mainstream response. Vulnerable people will be prioritized for referral and assistance.