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Lebanon: Beirut Port Explosions Situation Report No. 5 (As of 17 August 2020) [EN/AR]

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Situation Report
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This report is produced by OCHA Lebanon in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It covers the period from 14 to 17 August 2020.

HIGHLIGHTS

• 180 people were killed, over 6,000 people are estimated to be injured, and at least a dozen people remain missing following the Beirut Port explosions of 4 August 2020.

• Some 40,000 buildings were damaged, with 3,000 residential structures seriously damaged.

• Over 70,000 workers are estimated to have lost their jobs as a result of the explosions, with direct implications for over 12,000 households.

• A new record with regards to new COVID-19 cases in one day was set on 17 August – 456 new cases were registered, bringing the tally of confirmed cases to 9,336 including 105 deaths and 2,809 recoveries.

• The humanitarian community seeks $565 million to respond to port explosions.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Almost two weeks after the Beirut Port explosions, the Caretaker Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) reported that the number of people killed has reached 180 people; over 6,000 people are estimated to be injured, and at least a dozen people remain missing. On 16 August, the Head of the Beirut Doctors Syndicate stated that “at least 2,000 doctors in Beirut were affected by the explosion”, adding that doctors were either “injured physically or had their clinics destroyed”.

The Assessment & Analysis Cell (AAC) continues to gather information on ongoing assessments, including maintaining an assessment registry. Engagement also continues with the municipality of Beirut, the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) and UN-HABITAT to develop a system that visualizes ongoing response activities. Information collected so far through the assessment registry show both the partners’ and the assessments’ geographic coverage. The AAC also supports the LRC-led multi-sectoral needs assessment.

Rapid environmental assessments findings are feeding into a comprehensive disaster waste management plan, including hazardous waste which is being developed for Beirut. The European Union allocated 15 million Euros to fund emergency waste management activities throughout Beirut – the work will be carried out by the Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with UNDP and national partners. Guidance is also being provided to NGOs to ensure that adequate personal protective measures are in place during debris clearance. Maps on the work carried out thus far are publicly available on https://www.humanitarianresponse.info.

Following assessments, Dorcas/Tabitha, MSD, HelpAge International, Makassad and Amel, targeted over 800 people in the affected neighborhoods of Baddawi, Bourj Hammoud, Gemmayzeh, Geitawi and Quarantina with assistance. In addition to basic needs for food, cash and in-kind assistance, 26 per cent of respondents expressed concerns about their mental health. This was of particular concern to older people (25 per cent of respondents) and among Syrian refugees (32 per cent of respondents). Almost all respondents (98 per cent) reported housing unit damage, with damages to electricity, sewage and water networks especially concerning in the Quarantina and Bourj Hammoud areas. Also, some 34 per cent of respondents reported having difficulties accessing health services, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, it is expected the explosions will have a long-term impact on the lives of people, especially for those in already highly vulnerable situations.

According to a UNDP economic brief, a total of 200,000 housing units were affected in Beirut; 40,000 buildings were damaged; and 3,000 housing structures received serious damage as a result of the explosions. Over 15,000 establishments – some 50 per cent of Beirut establishments – are estimated to be damaged, the majority in the wholesale, retail and hospitality sectors. Over 70,000 workers have reportedly been made unemployed due to the explosions, with direct implications for over 12,000 households.

On 17 August 456 new COVID-19 cases – a new record – were reported, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 9,336, including 105 deaths and 2,809 recoveries. UNRWA reported four deaths due to COVID-19 among Palestine refugees in Lebanon over the past weekend, bringing the total to eight. COVID-19 community transmission is being observed, with some 30 per cent of cases not having a clear source of infection. As the country’s healthcare system grows reportedly overwhelmed, the Caretaker Minister of Public Health called for a two-week lockdown on 17 August. The UN and partners continue to support the national COVID-19 response, focusing on both mitigation measures and the continuation of the “Test, Trace, Treat” strategy. While COVID-19 cases have been recorded across Lebanon, the largest numbers have been reported in Saida city, in the south, and its environs.

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