Contribution to Emergency Appeal Lebanon 2020
The overall programme goal is to alleviate the situation of people displaced by the disaster as well as ensuring medical treatment and service provision, not only for those injured in the blast directly but also for those more prone to COVID-19 infections due to aggravated living conditions;
With the Austrian contribution of EUR 500,000, the LRC can reach the following results (indicative):
Disaster Management / Basic Assistance:
- Livelihoods and living situation alleviated through restricted and unrestricted financial assistance to 250 families
The LRC will introduce direct cash support to affected populations within the next few weeks. This is to provide much needed cash support that people can use to cover basic daily needs, conduct small repairs to destroyed homes to make them at least habitable again or cover rent for temporary accommodation.
Emergency Medical Services:
- Ambulance service and medical transport capacities in the form of 50 vehicles repaired, re-equipped and maintained;
The support will go into fleet maintenance and procurement of equipment which can include, amongst others, oxygen masks, stretchers, defibrillators or trauma kits. The ambulances serve to transport people to and between hospitals (many of which on the outskirts of the city), continue emergency services and facilitate COVID-19 testing and patient transports.
Blood Transfusion Services:
- 2 Blood Transfusion Centers re-stocked with reagents and equipped with consumables
- Provision of PPE for two BTS centers
Life-saving blood donations have been in high demand in the immediate aftermath of the blast. The LRC is the one main provider of blood units and has mobilized all available resources to scale up coverage during the response. The demand remains high with an average of 50-100 units still being distributed on a daily basis. Additionally, medical equipment such as blood mixers and blood separators are highly needed.
Activities could reach up to 20,250 people affected directly by the blasts or indirectly in Beirut
Target groups of the contribution consist of those directly benefitting from basic service coverage as well as those directly or indirectly covered through restoring BTS capacities and provision of EMS for the operation:
• # of beneficiaries under Basic Assistance: 1,250 people / 250 families
The ADA/AutRC contribution will ensure the coverage of basic needs in terms of kitchen items, blankets etc. or repairs to damaged homes through CVA (cash and voucher assistance). These will directly benefit the people affected by the explosion.
• # of beneficiaries under EMS support: up to 16,000 people approx. /year (indirectly);
These will benefit from a timely response to emergency medical needs, medical transports and lifesaving first aid through paramedical services. The maintenance of this service level - especially in times of civil unrest and COVID-19 - would not be possible without the restoration of the EMS capacities and could certainly endanger the lives of thousands of patients.
• # of beneficiaries under BTS support: 3,000 people appx / year (indirectly);
The contribution will support the rehabilitation of two BTS centers, which will provide indispensable services to the strained health systems in Beirut. The LRC provides a total of 40,000 blood products per year, saving the lives of an estimated 20,000 people. The rehabilitation and restoration of the two centers guarantees the ongoing provision of blood products for people affected by the blast, civil unrest or COVID-19, while observing Infection prevention and control protocols by restocking PPEs for staff;
- Rapid Needs assessment (in coordination with other partners) & Market Assessment to determine most efficient/effective modality of intervention;
- Coverage of basic needs (e.g. mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets, shelter repairs, etc.) through cash and voucher assistance where feasible
- Community engagement and accountability including post-distribution monitoring and complaint Response Mechanisms (CRM);
- Continued provision of pre-hospital care and medical transport to affected population;
- Repair and maintenance of ambulances and equipment;
- Repairing and re-equipping two Blood Service Facilities;
- Procurement of medical reagents and consumables for blood transfusion;
- Procurement of PPE for medical staff and volunteers
Situations such as the one caused by the Beirut blast often lead to negative coping mechanisms by the affected population, giving rise to issues such as sexual exploitation or an increase in domestic violence within affected families. The IFRC and LRC have therefore undertaken concrete steps to ensure adherence to its ‘Minimum Standard Commitments to Protection, Gender and Inclusion (PGI) in Emergency Programming’:
? Volunteers, staff and contractors sign, are screened for and are briefed on safeguarding, prevention and response to sexual exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) policy/guidelines
? Volunteers are trained in PGI in humanitarian settings and assess immediate and longer-term PGI needs, including Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) issues.
? Protection related reference systems are supported at local level.
On August 4th 2020, at 6 p.m. local time, the Beirut port area was shaken by a series of destructive explosions and subsequent shockwaves, the effects of which were visible as far as 20km away. The immediate area 2km around the blast site was devastated, 178 people lost their lives and over 7,000 were left injured, while an additional 300.000 have lost their homes (WHO update, 12.08.2020).
Health facilities in Beirut and the surrounding areas are still overcrowded, several hospitals were seriously damaged by the explosion. Additionally, four large grain silos at the port were destroyed, reducing the grain reserves currently in the country to an alarming degree. This all on the background of an economic and socio-political crisis that has also seen a staggering rise in COVID-19 cases.
Initial analyses indicate that interrupted access to essential health services and supplies of medicines will remain critical. It is therefore essential to ensure and maintain access to basic healthcare as well as to support the rehabilitation of emergency medical services, blood bank services and resources as well as provide crucial socio-economic support to the hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their homes.