• International Medical Corps has partnerships with more than 50 primary healthcare centers (PHCCs) throughout Lebanon, supporting primary healthcare services for Syrian refugees at facilities in Bekaa, Beirut, Mount Lebanon, Akkar and other areas throughout the north and south.
• Since the explosion, International Medical Corps has delivered 15 shipments of medical supplies and personal protective equipment—including masks, gloves and gauze—to 19 primary healthcare centers and eight hospitals in Beirut.
• Through one of its mobile medical units, the team has provided more than 130 healthcare consultations to residents in Bourj Hammoud and Ashrafeih Karm El Zeitoun, where nearly 70% of the homes and dwellings were destroyed or damaged by the blast.
Last week, an enormous explosion ripped through Beirut, killing at least 220 people, wounding more than 6,000 and leaving approximately 300,000 homeless. Search-and-rescue operations are ongoing, with at least 120 people reported missing. Though the exact cause of the disaster is still unknown, it is believed to have been caused by negligent handling and storing of thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate.
Primary healthcare centers (PHCCs) and hospitals were severely damaged by the blast, leaving the remaining hospitals overwhelmed by the number of casualties. Additionally, many hospitals’ intensive-care units (ICUs) were already near capacity before the explosion, due to COVID-19. Over the last month, the sevenday moving average of new COVID-19 cases rose by more than 600%, from 36 per day on July 10 to 233 per day on August 10. The increase in cases and the effects of the explosion are creating a growing concern that hospitals will run short on equipment and supplies to care for patients. Further exacerbating matters, the central medication warehouse of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) was damaged in the explosion, destroying large quantities of critical medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE).
The explosion has brought immense suffering to a country that is already reeling from a prolonged financial crisis. The COVID-19 outbreak and related containment measures have led to a country-wide lockdown, further exacerbating the country's unemployment rate. The crisis has pushed nearly one out of every three Lebanese into unemployment. At the same time, approximately 20% of the remaining population has seen their salary reduced, and the ongoing financial crisis has led to an 80% devaluation in the national currency.1 Additionally, Lebanon has the highest per capita proportion of refugees worldwide, with one refugee for every four nationals. With more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees alone, the large number of vulnerable refugees from across the region has placed enormous pressure on the country. The area surrounding the port, where the explosion occurred, is densely populated, with a high concentration of Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian households living in some of the most vulnerable neighborhoods.