A month has passed since large quantities of ammonium nitrate at a warehouse in the Beirut port exploded, causing massive humanitarian and financial losses. According to the Ministry of Public Health, the death toll has reached 190, with three people still missing, more than 6,000 injured, and more than 300,000 displaced. In addition, many people are showing symptoms of severe psychological distress.
The Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA), launched by the World Bank Group (WBG), in cooperation with the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU), determined that the blast caused between $3.8 and $4.6 billion in damages to infrastructure and physical stock. With a major focus on the worst affected areas within a five-kilometre radius of the explosion site, the RDNA covered 16 sectors, including health, housing, education, culture and social protection and jobs.
According to a UNFPA assessment of 55 Primary Health Care Centers (PHCC) within 5 kilometres of the blast, less than 50 per cent of the centres reported that they provide the full package of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, including maternal and newborn care, and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). While almost 71 per cent of health facilities are still functional, only 47 per cent of surveyed facilities can provide full routine health services.
The steady increase of COVID-19 infections continues to pose a threat to the population. 598 cases were reported in Lebanon on 2 September 2020, with the cumulative number reaching 18,365 confirmed cases - a daily increase of about 5 per cent since the blast. Among the new infections that day 6 cases were reported among healthcare workers raising the total number of infected healthcare workers to 679. The cases are reported from Tripoli Governmental hospital, Makassed hospital, Geittawi hospital and the American University of Beirut Medical Center. In the meantime, the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities, in consultation with citizens and businesses, has relaxed the coronavirus lockdown measures on Friday 28 August, cutting curfew by four hours (from 22.00 to 6.00) and allowing most businesses to reopen at a 50 per cent capacity.