News Alert: Humanitarian Needs in Beirut on Par With Aftermath of an Earthquake
24 hours after the explosion that rocked Beirut yesterday, killing more than 100 people and wounding more than 4,000 others, global organisation Mercy Corps highlights the urgent needs we are seeing.
George Antoun, Mercy Corps Country Director for Lebanon, says:
“The damage is immense. When you walk through the streets, there is destruction everywhere and homes and businesses are destroyed. In a humanitarian sense, the needs are on par with what you might see immediately after an earthquake has struck.
An estimated 300,000 people are homeless and in the next few days they will need food, water, shelter and hygiene and sanitation support. Then, clean-ups and help to reopen small businesses will need to be prioritised. With 51% of people in Lebanon relying on small businesses for their livelihoods, they cannot afford to be out of work.
Even before this explosion struck, Lebanon was facing a crisis on multiple fronts. Home to the largest number of Syrian refugees per capita in the world, the financial woes are stark with the Lira having lost 80% of its value since October and the country in hyperinflation for the last two months. Lebanon is also experiencing an escalation in COVID-19 cases, with around 200 new cases reported every day.
This explosion comes at the worst possible time for Lebanon and adds yet another setback that will deeply affect people's ability to cope."