Lebanon + 1 more

Lebanon: Beirut Port Explosions Situation Report No. 4 (As of 13 August 2020) [EN/AR]

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Situation Report
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HIGHLIGHTS

• 178 people were killed, and an estimated 6,000 people were injured and at least 30 people remain missing in the Beirut Port explosions.

• Two quays have opened at Beirut Port and five of 16 cranes have resumed operations. Two more cranes are to be recommissioned by 14 August. Beirut Port is now functioning at 30 per cent capacity.

• Currently WHO estimates six hospitals are damaged (up from three) and more than twenty clinics (up from an initial estimate of fifteen).

• The Ministry of Public Health continues to report increasing COVID-19 transmission rates.

• The Shelter sector estimates that more than 47,000 apartments sustained some level of damage, affecting more than 170,000 residents.

• A WASH Sector survey of 558 buildings found that more than twothirds of accessible sites lack access to clean drinking water.

• At this stage, food shortages are not anticipated, and the unofficial exchange rate of the Lebanese Pound (LBP) appears to be falling.

178 Reported deaths

6,000+ People reported injured

30+ People reported missing

SITUATION OVERVIEW

A week after the Beirut Port explosions, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) reported that the death toll reached 178 persons. More than 6,000 were injured, and at least 30 remain missing.

Affected areas include neighborhoods that host refugees. A total 13 deaths are reported among the refugee community. 503 referrals were received for refugees reported dead in the blasts, injured or in need of assistance. 69 refugees are still not reachable or confirmed as missing. UNHCR reported that more than 37,000 refugee families lived within 5km of Beirut Port. UNRWA reported the death of two Palestine refugees and several injuries.

The explosions affected many neighborhoods across Greater Beirut, including several with poor, migrant workers and refugee communities. Many of these communities have limited resources to reconstruct damaged shelters or purchase food and non-food items. These groups also live in neighbourhoods with limited access to services, including WASH and health services. The majority of displaced are housed with families and friends.

Six major hospitals and 20 clinics sustained partial or heavy structural damage. A preliminary rapid assessment within a 15-kilometre radius of the explosions, has revealed that, out of 55 medical facilities, only half are fully operational and around 40 per cent have suffered moderate to serious damage and need rehabilitation. 120 schools, used by 50,000 Lebanese and non-Lebanese children, sustained various levels of damage. Humanitarian partners are conducting further damage assessments, in close coordination with relevant government authorities.

Debris is still reported inside houses and on the streets with removal operations and cleaning ongoing. The Municipality of Beirut asked residents to evacuate building assessed to be structurally unsound and safety hazards to responders and civilians. Despite having relocated and evacuated, many displaced people reportedly moved to makeshift shelters close to their houses or return to their neighborhood during the day for fear of looting and theft or to pick up their belongings.

Collective or crowded alternative accommodations prevent social distancing and could create greater exposure to COVID19. The economic crisis resulting in loss of livelihood and savings for many Lebanese will represent a challenge for people to repair their homes. Given the high inflation, prices of construction and repair materials are likely to increase. As a result, the most vulnerable households might face prolonged displacement or live in hazardous conditions without basic services such as water and electricity, or privacy. However, over 55% of the houses assessed in the area were rented, which may allow the affected population to move elsewhere. Some households are predicting to be displaced for up to a month, others for a longer, indefinite period. It is reported that affected population from the Qarantina district may take up to one year to return.

Nabaa and Qarantina neighborhoods reportedly lack electricity. Other neighborhoods continue to have electricity at preexplosion levels (i.e., less than six hours daily). Reportedly, cables and generators within the power grid were severely damaged cutting off electricity provision. While power outages of three to six hours a day are common in Lebanon, they went up to 20 hours a day in July due to fuel shortages.

Concerns remain over chemical substances stored at the port, many of which have been recovered during ongoing operations. Further assessments are required to make sure that all threats are identified, understand any actual or potential cascading risks and restore safety. Asbestos and other hazardous waste are a concern given the ongoing cleanup initiatives throughout the city. Guidelines have been issued for the population on air pollution and cleanup.

On 13 August, a total of 298 new COVID-19 cases were recorded. A total of 292 new cases were identified the day prior. The emergency in Beirut as well as the protests over the past four days have caused many COVID-19 precautionary measures to be relaxed, raising the prospects of even higher transmission rates and a large caseload in the coming weeks. The situation is particularly concerning for the thousands of youth and volunteers from all over Lebanon that came to support in cleaning and rehabilitation activities.

Despite the government’s resignation on 10 August the situation on the ground remains tense. On 11 August, there was another large protest in downtown Beirut, the fourth consecutive one since 9 August. According to the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC), the clashes injured ten people, who were hospitalized, and 32 wounded who were treated on site. Over the four consecutive days of protest, LRC reported that 85 civilians were transported to hospitals and 311 were given first aid support on site. 105 security forces personnel were also reportedly wounded according to Lebanese security forces.

On 13 August, following Parliamentary decision, the state of emergency will be in place until 21 August.

On 12 August, the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers approved a draft decree aimed at accepting and exempting donations and aid to several public and non-profit entities. The exemption, which is still pending, may facilitate the implementation of the humanitarian response in Lebanon.

On 12 August, the Minister of Economy and Trade (MoET) reported that Lebanon is not facing difficulties with the flow of goods from abroad. According to the MoET, all three ports in Lebanon are functioning (Beirut, Tripoli and Sidon), with Beirut operation at 30 per cent capacity and Tripoli at 70 per cent capacity. Reportedly, quay #12 and quay #13 at Beirut port opened on 13 August and five cranes (out of 16) have been recommissioned/functioning, and two more are expected to be operational by 14 August. In addition, besides the container terminal re-opening, wheat unloading has also resumed for two ships. WFP will assess the Beirut Port on 14 August.

At this stage, food shortages are not anticipated, noting that WFP is bringing into the country a three-month supply of wheat flour and grains for bakeries and mills as reported earlier. Essential items, including food, fuel and electricity, were already becoming more expensive before the explosions due to the inflation, the banking restrictions and the loss in value of the local currency. It is expected that prices of food and other essential goods could continue to increase.

The economic situation has been stable since the explosions, with the dollar value slightly decreasing. On 13 August, the unofficial value of the US dollar dropped to 6,600-6,800 Lebanese pound (LBP). This constitutes a strengthening of the LBP, as it previously reached LBP8,000 to the US dollar before the explosions.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.