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MSF responds after massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon
On August 4 2020, a powerful blast in port warehouses near central Beirut storing highly explosive material killed more than 135 people, with estimates of more than 5,000 injured and many still missing. The explosion sent seismic shockwaves that shattered windows, smashed buildings and shook the ground across the Lebanese capital.
It was the most powerful explosion in years in Beirut, which is already reeling from an economic crisis and a surge in coronavirus infections.
"The situation in Beirut is completely catastrophic. People are still missing, and search and rescue operations are still ongoing, looking for people that are still trapped in the rumble of their homes"
Immediately after the explosion, Médecins Sans Frontières health workers volunteered at public and private hospitals across Beirut. The MSF team proactively organised the donation of first aid kits to support the Lebanese Civil Defense on the same night.
People are still missing
The team is also working on a donation of more medical supplies to relevant actors as well as N95 masks and surgical masks, and plan further donations of medical materials and drugs to different actors and Lebanese Ministry of Heath. MSF is currently assessing the needs of public and private hospitals to provide the required medical and logistic support that they might need to overcome this crisis.
"The situation in Beirut is completely catastrophic. People are still missing, and search and rescue operations are still ongoing, looking for people that are still trapped in the rumble of their homes... Hospitals in Beirut are still completely overwhelmed, not being able to cope with the thousand of wounded that have come in the hospitals in the last twelve hours," said Emmanuel Massart, Coordinator of MSF Operations in Lebanon.
Hear more from Emmanuel, explaining the situation on the ground, and MSF's initial response:
Meanwhile, MSF hospital in Bar Elias is ready to provide medical support for all injured people who have conducted surgeries. The hospital is ready and equipped to welcome cases who have received immediate primary surgery for trauma but are in need further surgical intervention.
In parallel, our teams are assessing the need to provide support to vulnerable people who lost their shelter and people in need of mental health care. Our mental health teams in coordination with the National Program for Mental Health by the Ministry of Health will join efforts to provide psychological help for those in need.