Beirut blasts: One month on
IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE EXPLOSION IN LEBANON, WORSENED INEQUALITIES PUT THE SAFETY AND DIGNITY OF THE AFFECTED POPULATION AT RISK
Before the blasts, Lebanon was already experiencing a deep economic crisis and waves of protests calling for social changes and an end to corruption. The global pandemic further exacerbated economic stagnation and prompted the government to declare a nationwide lockdown.
The needs remain enormous one month after the explosion.
“It is obvious that the economic situation of the country had really deteriorated, leaving the affected population unable to even provide basic needs for their families, let alone repair damaged doors and windows,” explains Ali Monzer, multisector specialist at WeWorld-GVC in Lebanon.
The deteriorating situation has led us to expand our services to target people affected by the August balst, along with our regular support to Syrian refugees, hosting communities and Lebanese institutions. Our staff assessed the needs of 206 vulnerable households across the affected area and their eligibility for multi-purpose cash assistance; the provision of cash is the most effective tool to ensure that the needs are covered quickly and efficiently and to ensure the dignity of the population, enabling them to make choices for themselves.
In the assessed households, there were 163 elderlies and 36 households with persons with specific needs.
“The household composition is also a factor in families’ inability to cope with the incident, leaving them with no other choice but burdening themselves with debts to meet their most urgent needs,” continues Monzer.
“We are working to support these vulnerable families and empower them, so that they are able to decide what they should prioritize first.”
We are ensuring that access to water is continuous
“Access to water has always been challenging in Lebanon. Last month, the explosions caused great damages to the water tanks that are usually on the roof of the buildings,” explains Francesca Anastasia, the emergency coordinator at WW-GVC Lebanon.
We have put our expertise in delivering and strengthening water provision and management for the benefit of the response to the catastrophe.
“Since then, we have been conducting assessments of damages in the water connection in 310 buildings in Rmeil and Achrafieh neighborhoods and we have installed 11 water tanks in 10 households in 9 buildings, to ensure people still had access to water after the incident,” continues Anastasia.
Access to water is of upmost importance as the country is experiencing a spike in the COVID-19 cases and deaths. We remain committed to responding to the multiple shocks that are causing an unprecedented increase in the poverty rate in the country, and to supporting the most vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian communities.
We have been working in Lebanon since 2006, concentrating much of our intervention to support and protect the most vulnerable, guarantee the rights of boys and girls and ensure access to basic rights to education, shelter and water and hygiene. Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted by the explosions and their families. Our colleagues on the ground are safe and will continue to support those in need.