Beirut is in ruins: Dramatic images of an explosion in the port of the Lebanese capital have gone around the world. The shock wave caused enormous damage inside a radius of 5 kilometres and hit large parts of the city, with its population of many millions. There are not more than 100 persons confirmed dead and over 5,000 injured, and the fear is that the final number of victims will be far higher. The governor of Beirut has said that up to 250,000 people have lost their homes. The local population is in urgent need of support.
medico-partners on the ground
AMEL, one of the most important health organisations in the country and a long-standing medico partner, is currently calling for blood donations, collecting clothing and food. With medico's support, AMEL operates several health centres in the southern districts of Bourj el Barajneh, Hay el Sollom, and Haret Hreik. Injured people are currently being treated there and then transferred on to hospitals.
"Almost every home has been damaged, there are countless injured, the hospitals are overcrowded and it is not yet possible to predict how serious the consequences will be in the long term. The port is almost completely destroyed," reports another Lebanese medico partner Anti Racism Movement.
The explosion is was a disaster waiting to happen. It is yet another expression of the failure of a government and state against whom many have rebelled for years, most recently with large demonstrations last autumn. Before the mass protests began in 2019, fires had shaken the country and highlighted massive shortcomings in the equipment of the fire brigades and civil defence units. At that time, the people protesting on the streets demanded the resignation of the entire political elite. However, almost no one has since left. Organised irresponsibility, corruption and arrogance continued: The explosion of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, stored for years in a port warehouse close to downtown, is the last, awful low point in a chain of events resulting from such decisionmakers.
The deep crisis in Lebanon, which began long before Corona and has dramatically worsened during the pandemic, will now only get worse. There is a severe iInfrastructure deficit, hundreds of thousands have not been provided with enough food, medicine or medical care for months. Destroyed by the explosion, the port is the main entry point (and bottleneck) for the imports on which Lebanon and the entire region – especially the international aid programme for Syria – depend. Electricity is rationed, garbage is not removed, employment is scarce, and the Lebanese currency has shed 80% of its value since last year. In addition, there are 1.5 million Syrian refugees and countless migrant workers in the city.
medico's partners are fighting together with Lebanese civil society for political change and solidarity. It is they who provide the support that the government does not. It is now entirely on their shoulders. And it is also now about helping in the disaster and in so doing supporting a system change that has already begun and is more compelling than ever.
By making a donation, you support medico’s partners with their acute emergency aid measures for the thousands of people so harshly affected in Beirut.