Beirut. On Tuesday evening in Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut, a massive explosion at the port sent an enormous blast wave that devastated communities within a six-mile radius, leaving at least a hundred people dead and some 4,000 injured.
Raymond Tarabay, Partner Coordinator for Malteser International in Lebanon said: “I have never seen so many injured people in my life. Hospitals in the city have been destroyed, many others are completely overwhelmed. Thousands of families have lost their homes and had to sleep on the streets last night. People now urgently need emergency supplies, shelter and psychosocial support.”
The Lebanese Association of the Knights of Malta (LAKM), Malteser International’s partner on the ground is already treating casualties and have mobilized volunteer teams to provide practical support for the vulnerable, especially elderly people and persons with disabilities.
“We are pulling together every medical capacity at our disposal in Lebanon. Our mobile medical teams on the Syrian border are providing care for people in the region. These teams will be needed in Beirut within the next days," said Clemens Mirbach, Country Coordinator for Lebanon at Malteser International.
The explosion comes at a difficult time for Lebanon. In addition to carrying a huge burden of the region’s refugee crisis, the country is suffering its worst economic crisis in decades. Almost half of the Lebanese population live in poverty, with unemployment at 35 percent. Hospitals are also struggling to cope with a rising number of coronavirus cases.
“We may also be facing the threat of a major food crisis,” said Tarabay. “The destruction of the port will now make it harder to import food. The consequences of this disaster will continue to have an impact for a long time to come, but for now the focus is on ensuring survival of people affected.”
Malteser International has been working in cooperation with the Lebanese Association of the Knights of Malta since 2014, providing medical care for Syrian refugees and vulnerable host communities.
Note to editors:
Raymond Tarabay is in Lebanon and available for interviews.
+49 (0)221 96441 181,
Malteser International is urgently appealing for funds to provide life-saving assistance!