Achievements since 4 August
• UNICEF successfully designed and rolled out the Emergency Cash Grant to over 70,000 people.
• Over 35,000 children, parents and primary caregivers were reached by UNICEF and partners with community-based mental health and psycho-social support.
• UNICEF and partners provided 45,700 children under 5 with essential nutrition supplements including Vitamin A, and reached over 16,600 primary caregivers of children 0-23 months with counselling and awareness on infant and young child feeding.
• UNICEF completed all WASH related infrastructural work and support at building level, meeting the needs of people directly affected by the blast, and provided over 20,000 people with access to adequate quantity of safe water for drinking and domestic use.
• UNICEF distributed critical humanitarian supplies and COVID-19 protection and hygiene items worth 3.7 million US dollars.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
On 4 August, the blast at the Beirut Port sent shockwaves throughout the city, killing almost 200 people, injuring more than 6,500 including 1,000 children, and left many in shock and traumatized. The blast is estimated to have directly impacted 9,700 buildings within a three kilometres radius of the epicentre, leading to 300,000 people being displaced, around two-thirds of all residents living within this radius.
Assessments among the affected population2 highlighted the needs for food, cash assistance, rehabilitation and psychosocial support, as many children were reportedly showing signs of severe distress such as anxiety, sleeplessness and flashbacks since the explosions. Given the chaos in the immediate aftermath of the blast, infection prevention and control measures were difficult to maintain, and an increase of well over 200 per cent in positive cases was registered one month after the blast, with most new cases being reported in Beirut.
Significant damages have been reported to the private and public infrastructure. The World Bank estimatesthe overall damage between $3.84 and $4.6 billion, in addition to around $2.9 to $3.5 billion in economic losses. According to the final results of the rapid needs assessment published by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE) and UNESCO, 208 schools (94 public and 114 private) and 20 TVET institutes sustained minor to significant damage. This affected more than 85,000 children and prevented more than 50,000 children and youth from accessing learning and education support. Costs for the rehabilitation of all damaged public and private schools are estimated to be around $20 million, in addition to $1 million for refurbishing damaged furniture, equipment and labs.
Six major hospitals, a new-born and pediatric unit supported by UNICEF, 20 clinics, 23 Primary Health Care Centrs (PHCCs), dispensaries and the Central Drug Warehouse, including its cold chain and dry room, required rehabilitation.
While the main water network was not impacted, many households did not have access to clean water supply due to damages to the connections between water sources and buildings and within buildings. Out of 13,000 buildings assessed, around 1,900 buildings needed some sort of rehabilitation to ensure safe access to water and wastewater services, while another 1,205 buildings in the most affected area remain inaccessible after five months.
The rehabilitation process remains slow, while economic and financial hardship increases. High inflation rates, rising poverty and unemployment, as well as a spike in COVID-19 cases and imposed lockdown measures are heavily impacting the population living and/or working inside the affected area.