UNHCR Flash Update on Lebanon: Beirut Port Explosions (7 August 2020)

Situation Report
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Situation Overview: Highlights

  • On 4 August, two large explosions hit the city of Beirut, reportedly caused by large quantities of ammonium nitrate being stored in a warehouse in Beirut Port. The explosions and ensuing fires reportedly released toxic materials in the environment. The country is observing an official period of mourning, and the government has declared a two-week state of emergency.

  • On 5 August, UNHCR issued a statement attributable to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, expressing heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. UNHCR stands in solidarity with the people of Beirut and Lebanon in these tragic and testing times.

  • All UNHCR personnel in Beirut have been accounted for. Several staff and family members as well as refugee outreach volunteers were injured, but no one was seriously harmed.

  • UNHCR is mobilizing, together with other humanitarian partners, to respond to the immediate needs in coordination with the concerned ministries.

  • The explosions come as Lebanon faces a multifaceted crisis. In recent months, the socioeconomic situation of refugees has continued to deteriorate, with the cost of basic needs exponentially rising as a result of the deep economic and financial crisis, exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19.