TT he Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) delivered tons of nutritional provisions on a special humanitarian flight from Slovakia as part of its expanded emergency response to help children and families affected by the devasting August 4 Beirut explosion. This latest assistance is helping ADRA expand its relief operations, which has so far focused on providing emergency food, water, and essential supplies to victims and first responders since the day of the explosion.
“We are facing an unsurmountable humanitarian crisis. Relief assistance reports indicate that close to a million people cannot afford basic needs. Even before the explosion, food security in Lebanon was a cause of serious concern,” says Mario Oliveira, emergency management director for ADRA. “Our teams are working around the clock assisting families and children. We are deeply grateful to our humanitarian partners for responding and pledging their support to ADRA’s on-going relief operations.”
The explosion killed more than 178 people, injured at least 6,000, and left some 300,000 individuals homeless. ADRA has already launched water, sanitation, and hygiene initiatives, and is coordinating joint efforts with humanitarian partners to address the needs of survivors more promptly. The relief agency plans to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assist displaced households with emergency shelter and protection assistance. At least 170,000 apartments and 150 schools including ADRA’s Learning center for refugee children were damaged by the blast.
“Lebanon is home to 1.5 million Syrian refugees. ADRA’s has been supporting the educational needs of refugee children for many years and restoring the learning center is crucial to the wellbeing of this community,” says Gunther Wallauer, ADRA regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. “We are also trying to provide families with the resources to secure their homes, as they don’t feel safe. People are rotating with family members to keep watch during the day and night to protect themselves because their homes don’t have doors or windows. Please keep them in your prayers.”
The explosion damaged at least 26 hospitals and clinics further straining medical services for coronavirus patients and the community at large. ADRA plans to continue its COVID-19 prevention initiatives to help Lebanon cope with the health challenges of the current crisis. The number of deaths and new infections has increased since the blast. The country has had more than 8,881 coronavirus cases and 103 deaths, according to the Health Ministry. (*Numbers subject to change daily.)
“Our COVID-19 response projects have been serving the most vulnerable communities since the outbreak. We have shipped medical supplies and personal protective equipment, provided hygiene and sanitation and food assistance for the elderly and refugees. We know Lebanon will need even more relief to deal with this pandemic,” says Alex Balint, emergency response coordinator, who is overseeing ADRA’s the day-to-day emergency operation in Beirut. “We learned the explosion destroyed thousands of PPEs and medical supplies that were stored in a warehouse at the port pending transfer to medical facilities. It is a challenging time to tackle COVID-19, but ADRA is committed to supporting the Lebanese community through this health crisis.”
To learn more about ADRA’s disaster response or make donations to assist with relief efforts in Lebanon visit ADRA.org/EmergencyFund.