Lebanon, like many other countries, has been working tirelessly to contain the spread of coronavirus. Unfortunately, the devastating explosion that took place on August 4th has the possibility of accelerating the country’s coronavirus outbreak as thousands flood into hospitals.
On August 4th, a giant explosion at a warehouse in the port sent a shock wave through downtown Beirut killing at least 171 people and injuring thousands. The explosion crushed the entire city. It is believed to be triggered after a fire in a warehouse reached another facility that stored highly explosive materials. The explosion could not have come at a worse time. Lebanon was not only dealing with the Covid-19 lockdown but also a banking crisis.
“We have nothing left, just when we thought it couldn’t get worse, it did”, explained activist Maya Ammar.
Before the blast, hospitals had sufficient supply to treat patients but now they might start to run short on equipment. Dr. Firas Abiad, director general of Rafik Hariri University Hospital said he expects an increase in cases in the next 10 to 15 days linked to crowding at hospitals and blood donation centers after the blast (Brito, 2020). A renewed lockdown was supposed to go into effect this week to slow the spike in cases, but those plans were canceled after the explosion.
“Lebanon is no longer on the brink of collapse. The economy of Lebanon has collapsed,” Fawaz Gerges, professor of international relations at the London School of Economics.
The emergency in Beirut has relaxed many precautionary measures causing a record 309 new coronavirus cases. At least 15 medical facilities have sustained structural damage from the blast (Aljazeera, 2020). The Lebanon Prime Minister, Hussan Diah, and government workers have turned in their resignations. The blast has made waves and Lebanon can’t seem to come up for air.
Lebanon needs all the help it can get not only in aiding those injured in the blast but also keeping their hospitals afloat in the event of a second wave of the coronavirus. Whether you live in Lebanon or another country, there are ways to help.
There are many organizations that are currently providing aid and services to Lebanon. The following organizations are accepting donations.
· Impact Lebanon: Impact Lebanon is a crowdsourcing operation that gives donations to suitable NGO’s.
· The Lebanese Red Cross: The Lebanese Red Cross is the main provider of ambulance services in Lebanon.
· World Food Program: Whole Food Program works to alleviate world hunger.
· The British Red Cross: The British Red Cross is working alongside the Lebanese Red Cross to save lives.
· Humanity and Inclusion: Humanity and Inclusion includes physical therapists, psychosocial, and livelihood experts to rehabilitate those who have been affected by conflict and disaster.
· International Medical Corps: International Medical Corps is working to staff hospitals and provide mental healthcare to survivors.
· Offrejoie: Offrejoie is an “apolitical and non-confessional Lebanese NGO” who advocates for a plural Lebanon.
· Islamic Relief USA: Islamic Relief USA is building a sustainable supply chain for emergency aid.
· Project Hope: Project Hope gives local healthcare workers supplies and aid.
If you are local to Beirut, you can find a place to give blood here.
Use Social Media
The Instagram account @locatevictimsbeirut is set up to locate victims of the Beirut explosion. Share to raise awareness.
World Vision encourages people to pray.
CBS News. (2020, August 06). Beirut explosions stoke fears of coronavirus spike as hospitals are overwhelmed. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/beirut-explosions-fear-coronavirus-spike-hospitals/
Elbeshbishi, S. (2020, August 06). Deadly explosion in Beirut: How to help to the victims in Lebanon. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/08/05/beirut-explosion-how-help-victims-lebanon/3300822001/
Klinger, H. (2020, May 12). Matthew 25: Prayer for refugees, disaster survivors. Retrieved from https://www.worldvision.org/refugees-news-stories/pray-refugees-disaster-survivors
Qiblawi, T. (2020, August 05). Beirut’s residents describe apocalyptic scenes after explosion rocks city. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/04/middleeast/resident-beirut-blast-scenes-intl/index.html
Sly, L. (2020, April 22). Lebanon is in a big mess. But on coronavirus, it’s doing something right. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/lebanon-is-in-a-big-mess-but-on-coronavirus-its-doing-something-right/2020/04/21/a024496a-83e0-11ea-81a3-9690c9881111_story.html
Tharoor, I. (2020, August 06). Analysis | Beirut’s blast and Lebanon’s deeper crisis. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/08/06/beiruts-blast-lebanons-deeper-crisis/