Following the explosion in Beirut’s port, which caused thousands of victims and destroyed numerous buildings, the emergency phase will move on a slow reconstruction of the city in a near future. In an economic and social crisis context our teams in Lebanon have already worked up for the future.
The explosions in Beirut on August 4th, 2020 are added to a period of instability in the country and fuel citizens’ anger: “All the people who have viewed the videos of the blast have been stunned by its strength. But this shock has been experienced more violently here, considering the social and political confusion that the country has been facing for more than ten months.”, explains Mathieu Nabot, Country Director in Lebanon for solidarités international. This tragic event deteriorates again a disastrous economic situation and increases the population’s vulnerability.
Many buildings have been partially or entirely damaged. First, the victims could rely on a strong solidarity lent by the whole Lebanese population. But the needs in the short terms remain numerous : to make the harmed areas safe (removing debris, broken windows, etc.), to assist hit people (distributing hygiene kits, cooking kits, and dignity kits – especially concerning menstrual hygiene), to meet hospitals and health centres needs in material and medicines – the four main Beirut’s hospitals have been largely damaged.
SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’S intervention has already focused on the rebuilding and renovation of the damaged houses
« At the moment we have no programme in the city of Beirut. A partnership will make teamwork easier and will save time for responses. That is why we quickly partnered with those already working on the ground, in particular with the Lebanese Red Cross that we will help providing them with material. We will also follow their results in needs’ assessments to identify the disaster zones and the most destitute people, and thus provide them with our direct assistance.”, explains Mathieu Nabot.
SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL rallies means through the institutional backers – especially the European Union and the Agence française de développement – or through private donors. The use is to help the most vulnerable to recover their previous living conditions as soon as possible. So that solidarités international has all skills required thanks to its experience acquired these last years, bringing support to Syrian refugees in Lebanon and to the Lebanese most vulnerable population.
The first distributions of shelter kits have already been made in partnership with UNHCR in the affected neighbourhoods near the destruction zones.
In Beirut solidarités international’s team will focus on rebuilding and renovation of apartments damaged by the explosion in the city centre, on ensuring clean water access, hygiene, and sanitation to residents. All solidarités international’s interventions will follow covid-19 hygiene regulations, and will consider families’ needs in particular – women, children, and disabled persons – to give them every dignity and security conditions assurance.
Despite the worries about security caused by this catastrophe, and the economic situation in Lebanon solidarités international intends to keep its usual activities in the country. “These new actions in Beirut are not going to hamper, in any way, our help to the Syrian refugees and to welcoming communities.” concludes Mathieu Nabot.
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Translated by Françoise Devillers
Header picture : © REUTERS / Mohamed Azakir