Lebanon

Disaster response Lebanon: Beirut port explosions - (Dec 16, 2020 02:54 PM)

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TSF deployed a team to Beirut in collaboration with the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) teams and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) to provide reliable communications in the area of the disaster.

Context

On Tuesday 4th of August, two massive explosions took place at the port of Beirut, in Lebanon. The accident caused at least 180 deaths, and over 6,500 casualties, forcing another 300,000 people out of their homes. The number of sudden casualties requiring urgent assistance has overwhelmed the national healthcare system, which was already struggling to treat COVID-19 patients. In addition, the country is plunged since several months in a deep economic crisis, in which Lebanese people as well as around 1 million refugees hosted in the country have to deal with poverty, daily power cuts, and limited public healthcare.

Deployment

On 7 August, TSF deployed a team to Beirut in collaboration with the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) teams and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) to provide reliable communications in the area of the disaster.

TSF connections facilitated the coordination of UNDAC’s search and rescue teams and assessment operations, aimed to assist the affected population. The assessments included not only an evaluation of the damages caused by the explosion, but also the environmental consequences and risks linked to the chemicals released during the accident, which threatened the health of Beirut’s inhabitants.

Call center for the disaster victims

Since August 14, in parallel to its work with UNDAC, TSF is actively working with the local actors from the NGO Live Love Lebanon and the consortium of NGOs Beirut Relief Coalition (22 NGOs and 2,500 volunteers) to support concrete and immediate actions providing emergency aid to affected populations. TSF has set up a call center to allow disaster victims to report their needs regardless of the field: medical, psychological distress, financial aid, etc.

Each request for assistance is handled by a team in charge of answering or returning the calls to beneficiaries, and another team, a support unit composed of specialized personnel, who is responsible for analyzing the applications and distribute them to partner NGOs according to their specialties, capacities and area of ​​intervention.

TSF is testing other innovative solutions to allow the coalition to reach as many people in great difficulty as possible. The objective thus sought is to diversify the communication channels thanks, on the one hand, to an automated system for collecting needs via an Instant Messaging app, and possibly to a free phone number allowing to join a team of volunteers who will receive requests for assistance and mobilize NGO partners.