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Lebanon: Beirut Port Explosions Situation Report No. 8 (As of 28 August 2020) [EN/AR]

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Situation Report
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Posted
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This report is produced by OCHA Lebanon in collaboration with humanitarian partners.

HIGHLIGHTS

• UNFPA estimates approximately 81,000 of those affected are women of reproductive age (15-49 years), including 24,000 adolescent girls.

• Protection partners estimate 152,200 persons are in need of protection services. Since the beginning of the response, over 2,700 psychological first aid sessions were provided to those in need.

• Sports for development sessions were launched for youths and adolescents in Quarantina, Getaiwi and Basta.

• Since the beginning of the response, over 50,000 hot meals/ready-to-eat meals were distributed in 11 neighbourhoods.

• A total of 4,458 weatherproofing kits were distributed, including in Achrafieh, Bourj Hammoud, Geitawi, Mar Mikhael,
Gemmayzeh, and Quarantina.

• Network connections problems in 130 buildings were addressed, and a total of 648 water tanks was installed so far, serving 192 buildings. Also, WASH partners distributed 4,341 hygiene kits and 624 baby kits to the most in-need families in Bachoura foncière, Rmeil and Quarantina.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

The explosions have had a devastating impact on Beirut, and will have broad and long-term consequences on the country as a whole due to the deepening Lebanon’s economic and multi-faceted crisis, compounded by the COVID-19 epidemic. Lebanon's central bank governor warned the bank may not be able to continue using its foreign currency reserves to finance trade and subsidize wheat, fuel and medicines. A lift of subsidies would mean that essential commodities would be priced according to the market exchange rate, a significant spike compared to the current rate of LBP 1, 500 to the US dollar. Experts warned the already impoverished population would struggle to pay for medicine, expected to cost around five times higher than the current cost.

UNFPA estimates approximately 81,000 are women of reproductive age (15-49 years), including 24,000 adolescent girls, were immediately affected by the explosions. According to reports from the National Mental Health Program of the Ministry of Public Health, in addition to the need to provide psychological first aid (PFA) and support to address post-traumatic stress disorder, women and girls affected will also require support related to sexual reproductive health and gender-based violence (GBV).

As a result of the explosions, some 170 buildings are at risk of partial or total collapse, according to the Head of the Lebanese Syndicate of Engineers. The LRC-led multi-sectoral needs assessment shows that support with shelter repairs is indeed the top priority in most affected areas, with over 35 per cent of the assessed households (6,100) relaying it as their main priority. The UN and partners are responding accordingly, and a total of 4,458 weatherproofing kits were distributed, including in Achrafieh, Bourj Hammoud, Geitawi, Mar Mikhael, Gemmayzeh, and Quarantina.

With regards to health, WHO reports that more than 80 primary health care centers are severely damaged from the explosions. Quarantina Public Hospital, a hospital located a few hundred meters from the epicenter of the explosions, for example, is still reeling from the damage. Support is ongoing to Quarantina Hospital to resume child-health screening activities and outpatient consultations. Also, according to an UNFPA assessment of 55 primary healthcare facilities within 5 kilometers of the explosions, less than 50 percent of the centers reported they maintained the full package of sexual and reproductive health services (SRH), including maternal and newborn care, and treatment for sexually transmitted infections. To address these issues, 22,540 dignity kits were distributed to women and girls in affected areas through SRH and GBV implementing partners. The distributors of the dignity kits also provide women and girls with information on services for SRH, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), and prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, and awareness raising activities.

On 28 August, 676 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Lebanon as the country has started relaxing lockdown measures. The number of healthcare workers with COVID-19 rose to a total of 594, out of the 15,613 cases in country, including 148 deaths and 4,260 recoveries. The number of hospitalized patients continues fluctuating and increased to 298 – an increase of almost 50 per cent in the last 24 hours – with approximately half of those patients receiving treatments in dedicated COVID-19 wards and 90 patients in intensive care units. While the physical bed capacity has increased, the capacity in human resources remains suboptimal, with currently a gap of some 100 nurses needed to provide adequate care in dedicated public hospitals, according to WHO. COVID-19 community transmission with multiple clusters is confirmed ongoing, with approximately 30 per cent of confirmed cases not yet having a clear source of infection. The Interior Ministry announced it would relax lockdown measures following pressure from people and businesses. Starting Friday, 28 August, a curfew will be implemented from 22:00 to 06:00. Businesses, including restaurants, cafes, malls, markets and gyms, will be permitted to operate at 50 per cent capacity.

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