Lebanon + 1 more

Beirut Explosion Situation Report #6, September 22, 2020

Situation Report
Originally published



Our Footprint

• International Medical Corps has partnerships with more than 50 primary healthcare centers (PHCCs) throughout Lebanon, supporting primary healthcare services for Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese at facilities in Bekaa, Beirut, Mount Lebanon, Akkar and other areas throughout the north and south.

Our Response

• Since the explosion, International Medical Corps has delivered 26 shipments of medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE)—including masks, gloves and gauze—to 18 PHCCs and eight hospitals in Beirut.

• The team has provided more than 1,100 medical consultations and 1,750 psychological first-aid consultations through mobile medical units that were deployed to highly impacted areas of Geitaoui-Karm El Zeitoun, Mar Mikhael, Bourj Hammoud and Mdawar.

On August 4, a massive explosion tore through the port of Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon. The explosion was caused by a fire that erupted in a warehouse storing 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical. The explosion killed more than 220 people and injured thousands. Nearly two months later, the emergency humanitarian response continues to shift its focus toward medium- and longer-term response projects and activities, including structure rehabilitation and repair, comprehensive and affordable primary healthcare, and mental health and psychosocial support services.

The port is surrounded by some of Beirut’s most historic neighborhoods. The dense residential areas of Gemmayzeh and Geitaoui are located to the southwest of the port, and Mar Mikhael and Quarantina are located to the southeast. All four demographically and socioeconomically diverse neighborhoods were severely affected by the explosion. Residential and commerical areas were destroyed or severely damaged. Recent assessments conducted in the Quarantina neighborhood indicate that it could take up to one year for people to return safely to their homes. Additionally, this cluster of neighborhoods is home to many of Lebanon’s state and private services—including the electricity provider, a bus terminal and three major hospitals that were severely affected by the explosion.
Moreover, there have been two fires at the port’s warehouses since the explosions, the most recent occuring on September 10. The fires have generated panic in nearby neighborhoods, further exacerbating the trauma and anxiety that communities have been dealing with since the initial incident. Our humanitarian partners and primary healthcare centers (PHCCs) have reported a high level of stress among residents.

In addition, the COVID-19 outbreak remains a serious concern. Six major hospitals and more than 20 clinics sustained partial or heavy structural damage due to the explosions, and an estimated 300,000 people were left homeless—many of whom are now living in damaged buildings, temporary sites or shelters, with limited access to water and sanitation. Since the explosion, there has been a consistent, upward trend in daily numbers of new cases. On Sunday, the government confirmed more than 1,000 new cases in a 24-hour period—a new record for the country. Almost 90% of the cases are among residents, confirming continued and widespread community transmission. The country has recorded a total of 29,303 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 297 deaths. Of those cases, at least 842 healthcare workers have been diagnosed with the respiratory illness since February.