04.02.2021

Six months after an explosion rocked Lebanon, aid is ongoing and adapting as needs change

On 4 August 2020, a set of explosions in Beirut’s port area sowed death and devastation in the Lebanese capital. More than 180 people died, 6,500 were injured and many were left homeless or having to live in severely damaged buildings. Find out how, six months after the disaster, aid efforts are ongoing and being stepped up.

A country ravaged by crises

The two consecutive explosions that rocked the port of Beirut took a heavy toll on the people of Lebanon. The disaster destroyed the area surrounding the port and caused damage to almost half the city. Tens of thousands of people had to find temporary accommodation, often with relatives, while others were forced to remain in their flats despite the damage—collapsed walls, balconies that had been blown off buildings and countless broken windows.

The explosions came at an extremely difficult time and were the last straw for the Lebanese people, who have been suffering through an economic, financial and social crisis since 2019. They were not spared by the coronavirus pandemic, making their situation extremely difficult.

An immediate humanitarian response

Following the disaster, we launched an appeal that generated over CHF 7.5 million in donations for those affected in Lebanon. As some of our partner NGOs have been working there for years, they know the terrain and have well-established working relationships with local organisations, which made it possible to deliver emergency aid immediately after the explosions shook the city to its core.

Our partners were able to distribute food, water and basic necessities, care for the injured and carry out emergency repairs for people whose homes had been severely damaged.

Help that evolves as needs change

In a second phase, our partner NGOs used your donations to repair homes, restore livelihoods and provide food security, protection and education. The situation in Lebanon remains extremely complex due to the economic and health crises, so we are adapting our assistance to meet the changing needs of the population.

Thus, in a third phase, assistance will continue to be provided to households, families and individuals whose situations are extremely vulnerable, because of not only the explosions but also the combined crises in Lebanon. Our partner NGOs will provide vital assistance and support to enable these people to recover and regain sustainable livelihoods.

Your donations mean concrete assistance. Here’s an example:

Vital psychological help

Suddenly, there was an explosion. Its shockwaves spread out over dozens of kilometres and were felt well into neighbouring countries. This event caused people serious trauma, including sleep disturbances, anxiety and fear linked to the belief that another explosion could happen at any time. Within families, some relatives lost their jobs because the tourism and catering sectors near the port were shut down. These people are afraid for their future and that of their children. Traumatised, many of them can no longer sleep.

Thanks to your donations, our partner NGOs are committed to helping these people heal the psychological scars left by the explosion. They lend victims an open ear, allow them to express their emotions and give them tools to overcome their trauma and deal with depression and despair. Within a month of the explosions, our partner NGO Medair provided more than 2,000 households with emergency psychological support.

1,750 families and households are receiving cash assistance

With your donations, our partner HEKS is supporting families and households whose homes were located within two kilometres of the explosion and who have been hit particularly hard by the disaster.

These households receive cash assistance to enable them to meet their most pressing needs, be it to buy food or basic necessities, medicine or equipment to repair the damage to their homes themselves.

 

Support to prepare for winter

It’s no easy task getting through winter unprotected from the wind and bad weather. Yet many families in Lebanon live in damaged housing and cannot afford to buy building materials for repairs because of the economic crisis.

Our partner NGO Caritas is distributing cash to these families so that they can repair the damage the explosions caused and protect themselves from the wind and bad weather. The funds also help these families meet their daily expenses.

2,821 emergency shelter kits, 1,838 hygiene kits and 440 baby kits distributed

After the explosions, many houses and flats were left without doors and windows. Many families lacked items they needed just to make it through the day. With your donations, our partner NGO Medair was able to distribute kits and materials, and carry out repairs to make homes safer and more comfortable to live in.

Thanks to your donations, we are bringing concrete help to the people most affected by the pandemic worldwide.