Medair responding to explosion in Beirut
Hiba Hajj Omar
based in Beirut, Lebanon (Arabic, English)
Medair is launching emergency programming to support families affected by the 04 August explosion in the port of Beirut. The explosion, caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, killed more than 160 people and injured over 6,000.
“I lived through more than 10 wars and conflicts, but I have never seen devastation like this,” says Wadeaa, who lives in a neighbourhood near the port of Beirut. “There are no places to go or hide. The street is our home. Now there is nothing.”
Medair staff have begun distributing emergency shelter kits, containing plastic sheeting, timber, and tools to families affected by the blast. Medair will also do minor repairs on buildings damaged in the blast, and will provide emergency cash and mental health support to people affected by the explosion.
“We have a tremendously dedicated team in Lebanon,” says Curt Tyler, Country Director for Medair in Lebanon. “They are working at all hours to provide support to families that have been affected by this explosion. The needs are tremendous.”
In addition to the explosion response, Medair continues to provide shelter and health assistance to Syrian refugees and vulnerable refugee families living in the Bekaa Valley. Our current programming includes responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and all of our programming initiatives have been adapted to prevent the transmission of the illness. Medair is also the lead mapping agency in Lebanon, partnering with UNHCR, providing ‘addresses’ for refugees to help them access humanitarian support.
Lebanon already faces numerous challenges. The country currently hosts the greatest number of refugees per capita of any country in the world: an estimated 1.5 million refugees in a country of five million people. Political and economic crises beginning in September 2019 have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. This explosion has pushed Lebanese people to the very brink of their ability to cope with these compounded crises.
Medair is an international humanitarian organisation that provides emergency relief and recovery services to families made vulnerable by natural disasters, conflicts, and other crises. Medair currently works in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Madagascar, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
Spokespeople are available for comment. Media enquiries should be directed to:
Hiba Hajj Omar, Communications Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org; +961 76674419 based in Beirut, Lebanon (Arabic, English)
Abigail Drane, Regional Communications Manager – Middle East, email@example.com; +962 (0) 79954 5525 based in Amman, Jordan (English)
This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and Global Support Office staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation.