- A deadly explosion on August 4, 2020 struck Beirut port.
- The explosion was felt as far as 15 kilometres away.
- $15 billion worth of damage.
- A state of emergency is declared for a period of 2 weeks.
- Families have been forced to seek temporary shelter at schools,
- acquaintances and administrative buildings.
- This comes on top of the very significant effects of the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
MAKHZOUMI FOUNDATION’S RESPONSE
Despite the heavy hit over Makhzoumi Foundation premises in Beirut, all its teams stayed fully functional based on guidance by the Founder, M.P. Fouad Makhzoumi, and the President, Mrs. May Makhzoumi. The instant the explosion eroded, the Safety and Emergency committee called for an emergency consultation to set the crisis plan. An operation room to manage the crisis was set in place in the midst of Beirut standing by for 24/7. All staff and volunteers were mobilized according to the crisis response Plan. Several hotlines were prompt activated based on the emergency needs. The hotline for the Psycho-Social Support is held active through the healthcare team. The hotline for the call for volunteers also is held active by the volunteers’ unit, and the general support hotline is operating in the field for people requesting urgent help in removing glass and cleaning.
Current discussions are taking place hourly with stakeholders to determine the most urgent needs and potential response options.
Makhzoumi Foundation Rapid Response focused on 6 main points:
As early as the explosion hit Beirut, the medical teams of MF went to the ground. Physicians and nurses trained on first-aid procedures went inside the MMU and stated roaming the roads in the blast area and the surrounding damaged streets. The emergency team is still in action after 30 days of the sad advent. Mazraa PHC is open for all medical services: Medical consultations are offered for free by all specialties under the Beirut Explosion MF Fund, laboratory and radiology tests are done for every affected individual who seeks help in the PHC, and essential medications are distributed with the support of the MOPH and UNICEF.
The PHC is receiving external referrals of cases from other organizations working in the field. All health services are done in direct coordination with the health partners including mainly MOPH, YMCA, UNHCR, and UNICEF. Internal referrals by MF Relief unit also are taking place continuously, serving the refugees in the midst of this crisis.
Despite the emergency situation, routine vaccination did not stop. The health and safety of children remains a priority.
One to one Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) counseling for pregnant and lactating women is taking place whenever needed in the breastfeeding room at the PHC in Mazraa.
The Non-Communicable diseases program (NCD) continues to screen all people for cardiovascular diseases including people who are directly affected by the explosion.
MF PHC was also hit severely by the explosion shockwaves. Assessment is being done currently on its infrastructure by the MOPH and Relief International. Initial results confirmed severe structural damages to the health facilities and the building where it is located. Most of the damage was dealt with immediately by MF logistics and maintenance teams. Rooms that were not eligible for functioning were relocated immediately to other floors. MOPH and UNICEF are procuring medical kits, medications and supplies.
The MMU Rapid Response
Since the explosion, MF MMU was fully deployed to highly impacted areas of Bashoura, Zokak El Blat, Ras El Nabaa, Sodeco, Bourj Hammoud, Geitaoui, Karm El Zeitoun, Mar Mikhael, and Medawar to offer emergency health support. Its main task is dropping the healthcare volunteers, including physicians and nurses, from the PHC in Mazraa to assigned damaged streets based on a set schedule. The teams offer first- aid services including wound and burn care, general health and mental health assistance. Healthcare activities through the MMU are undertaken in a clean and hygienic environment that facilitates medical practices. There is continuous distribution of hygiene kits and IPC materials including surgical face masks, alcohol-based hand gel bottles, and gloves. At the same time, the medical teams are teaching the affected individuals about the best practices of hand hygiene.
MF MMU also functions to drop volunteers in front of the shattered homes in the streets surrounding the port area for home visits that take place on a daily basis for people who are at a halt, and for elderly who cannot move out of their broken houses.
NFIs and WASH
MF with its partners have assessed 1300 homes for damages in water pipes and connections in an aim to work for interventions with WASH partners.
Homes accessibility was difficult on the first days after the explosion. Water systems are damaged and tanks need repair or replacement.
MF distributed 1500 hygiene kits and IPC materials to the most in-need families in Bashoura, and Karantina. In addition to continuous distributions in MF PHC in Mazraa. The distribution is done in partnership with partners including MOPH, UNICEF, Arcenciel, LRC, and World Vision.
Distribution of household items and essential electronics also is taking place in the affected areas based on the rapid impact Assessment done by MF field surveyors in collaboration with its partners.
During the explosion, MF Protection sector built on its experiences and its resources from previous crises, since 2006, starting with the Israeli bombarding of Lebanon, to the Iraqi and Syrian wars, to the forest fires in Mount Lebanon, and now to the Coronavirus pandemic.
By liaising with the office of Beirut Governor, UNHCR, the Ministry of Public health and the Municipality of Bourj Hammoud, teams are coordinating the response at the field level.
Priority is addressed mainly toward outreach, community engagement, psychological first aid (PFA) and referrals to Psycho-Social Support (PSS). Protection services are provided by specialized outreach teams and teams located in MF relief unit inside Hariri hospital and in PHC in Mazraa.
Both the MMU and the Fun Bus are touring the affected areas to provide protection services on a daily basis. Social animation through the Fun Bus team in the field helps children who are traumatized because of the explosion.
The PSS HOTLINE 70793038 is also mobilized for emergency cases.
MF response continues to be based on its home-to-home assessment for determination of eligibility for assistance.
To support with access to the affected areas in Beirut ground zero and the affected surroundings, MF is liaising with its partners, local authorities, and volunteers to provide shelter assistance in Saifi, Geitawi, Mar Mkhayel, Gemayze, and Karantina.
The Rapid Impact Assessment, developed by MF emergency task force, is immediately used as a tool for the assessment of the explosion’s impact. It is a flexible, transparent and a permanent record that is helping for further interventions.
The teams did 1353 baseline surveys, in House-to-House visits, whereby they addressed questions about the explosion. More in-depth surveys are taking place.
Contributions by MF Shelter partners include distributions of home appliances, mattresses and kitchen kits.
Homes, stores, hospitals and schools in the affected areas are visited, assessed, and cleaned.
Glass, stones and aluminium is removed and Nylon covers replaced all the openings.
At present, 900 homes are being assessed for receiving assistance for broken glass repair.
180 households are also receiving unconditional cash assistance, in contribution by the Australian BioElektra.
The field teams continue to work with other local actors, including the Lebanese Red Cross, on other household assessments and zoning. There are many groups touring the Beirut as per the pins in Beirut map below, also aiming to assess the damages.
MF worked on interventions in the food distribution based on the field rapid impact assessment.
Hot meals and ready-to-eat food are distributed to affected households:
4590 plates in collaboration with the Central Kitchen and Lebanese Red Cross.
In-kind Food Parcels are also distributed in the fields:
500 parcels by the Embassy of Kuwait in Beirut. 50 parcels by Slimstock Inventory Optimization.
Wheat flour is also distributed in contribution with different partners:
250 kilos & 200 bread packs by ALPHA Association and Mazraa Bakery.
The focus now is shifting to cash-based food assistance, in collaboration with international actors.