You may have seen the shocking images coming out of Lebanon: a massive explosion ripped through central Beirut, killing at least 100 people, injuring more than 4,000 others and leaving some 300,000 homeless. The explosion was so powerful that it registered as a 3.3 magnitude earthquake in Beirut, and was felt as far away as Cyprus. Hundreds of people remain missing, and search-and-rescue missions continue.
As a result of the blast, hospital emergency departments are overwhelmed and struggling to provide care, especially as power outages interrupt services. Our team reports that hospitals are asking nearby residents to bring in generators and spare solar- or battery-operated lights so that health workers can continue to treat patients. Further complicating response efforts, COVID-19 was already straining the health system—Lebanon has had more than 5,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak began.
International Medical Corps has been on the ground in Lebanon since 2006, providing health services to Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese communities. Most recently, we have been responding to COVID-19 across the 59 health facilities we support. Our nearly 300 team members are safe and accounted for – only four team members were injured in the blast and will recover. Our office sustained damage, but fortunately our warehouse containing medicines and supplies is whole and functioning.
We launched emergency services to support the response to the explosion and are coordinating closely with the government, Red Cross and other responders to quickly provide surge capacity to stretched hospitals and health facilities. Our teams are mobilizing urgently needed supplies and deploying staff from unaffected health facilities to hospitals caring for patients. We are also preparing to support mental health needs for those affected by this emergency.
You can follow our response here. Thank you for supporting International Medical Corps to help survivors get lifesaving care.
J. Whitney Broadwell
Sr. Specialist, Direct Marketing
International Medical Corps