On 4 August, an explosion in the main port in Beirut caused widespread casualties and material damage to homes, hospitals and businesses. Multiple health care facilities sustained damages and the remaining hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties, with many intensive care units already near capacity due to COVID-19. As of 7 August, there are over 157 reported deaths, 5,000 injured, 100 people missing and an estimated 300,000 people displaced.
Based on a request from the Lebanon Ministry of Health, WHO immediately began preparing Emergency Trauma and Surgical Supply kits to treat a total of 2,000 people, airlifted from Dubai on a plane donated by the United Arab Emirates, a key WHO partner in health emergency response. WHO continues to work with national and local authorities to identify further needs and ensure immediate support.
Global Health Cluster partners are responding to the emergency in Beirut. International Medical Corps launched an emergency response to mobilize supplies and staff, deploying mobile medical units to provide emergency care and mental health services. World Vision International plans to reach 120,000 people by providing temporary shelter to families, providing psychological first aid to those affected by the explosion, and distribution of food, hygiene and household supplies for displaced people. International Rescue Committee (IRC) is working to provide immediate cash and economic assistance to meet immediate needs of the affected population.
The latest emergency comes in the context of a significant economic crisis, with poverty levels in Lebanon estimated to reach 50% and extreme poverty to double from 10% to 20% in 2020. Lebanon was also added as part of the May update of the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) in recognition of the high number of refugees hosted in Lebanon.