The explosions in Beirut on 4 August have left 191 persons dead, more than 6,500 injured and caused widespread material damage. Through assessments, it is estimated that the explosions directly impacted around 219,000 individuals living in an estimated 73,000 apartments located across 9,100 buildings within three kilometres of the epicentre.
This has led to the displacement of families to areas within and outside the immediately impacted area. A majority of those affected continue to reside in their damaged buildings. Shelter actors responded from day one, supporting grassroot and civil society efforts to respond to the priority needs of the affected population.
The Multi-Sector Needs Assessment (MSNA), started by the Lebanese Red Cross and now supported by 19 partners, has helped to guide the Shelter Sector in projecting the needs in the entire affected area and identify damaged buildings and apartments.
Based on information collected from MSNA partners, as of 12 October assessments have been completed in 125 out of the 139 zones in the priority area (90%). This means that all buildings in those zones have been assessed. However, not all apartments within the buildings themselves have been assessed.
The MSNA does not replace the need for agencies’ individual technical and vulnerability assessments, which they need to conduct in order to get accurate cost estimates and damage categorisation for programme planning requirements.
A Flash Appeal was launched on 14 August to mobilise support for a multi-sectoral response. Shelter Sector partners have collectively requested $95M, mainly for cash for shelter and minor repair or rehabilitation of damaged apartments.
As of 12 October, 1,015 minor repairs and 243 rehabilitations have been completed and 188 households have received cash for rent. Now that preparations are in place, partners are expected to complete all minor repairs and rehabilitations (with confirmed and expected funding) by the end of the year.
Different building typologies and high urban density significantly add to the complexity of the response, where each building has sustained a different kind of damage and requires a customised response. Many heritage and low-income dwellings were already in poor condition before the explosion, often housing the most vulnerable segment of the population. These buildings are a priority in the shelter response and require specialised skills. Many dwellers also lack security of tenure, requiring HLP to be a central component of a protection-sensitive shelter response.
Another challenge has been to quickly scale up technical and project management capacities of the shelter agencies, while ensuring procedural compliance in the selection of contractors.
Construction material requirements are the object of particular attention because of the volume, quality concerns with bulk imports and price inflation. All of these factors require additional time and attention by shelter actors.