Background:

There is still a lot to be done

Four weeks after the explosion in Beirut

by Sebastian Zausch,  2020/09/11

We are staying! A clear statement of the people in the destroyed houses of Beirut: they will not give up. Photo: humedica

„The sudden economic crisis and the extreme currency decline had already worsened considerably the situation of the people in Lebanon in the last months. The explosion in Beirut has made things even worse for them“, says Roland Hassel. Immediately after the disaster he travelled as a humedica coordinator to Lebanon to assess the situation, to define needs and to organize our help on site. After four weeks in the country he has now returned to Germany.

Ethiopian domestic staff without prospects

„Large parts of several districts have been hit hard“, he reports. „Besides office buildings and warehouses also many residential houses have been destroyed. Many people lost their accommodations and their jobs as well. Young female migrants, who used to work as domestic servants for Lebanese families, belong to the most vulnerable population groups. These women, who come mostly from Ethiopia, have no family on site, often not even papers and are therefore in a legally very critical situation. Without money and without the possibility to return to their home country, ten or even twenty of them live together in tightly crowded spaces. Together with our partner AMEL we help them to get back to their homelands and support them with the bare basics“, tells us Roland. „Due to the currency decline imported goods, even allegedly small things like sanitary towels, have become veritable luxuries. Often, menstruation hygiene is a taboo, hence a mostly forgotten and neglected topic. It is all the more important to assess and comply these needs, too.“

Roland talking to a victim. Photo: humedica

Everywhere in town voluntary helpers are needed to assist the reconstruction. humedica takes over expense allowances for the food and transport of volunteers, who work for the local organization „Sharing is Caring“. It also provides skills in important areas such as psychological emergency aid to ensure the responsible handling of victims traumatized by the explosion.

Help for those, who have nothing

In Beirut humedica cooperates closely with the Social Development Centers of AMEL, a kind of neighborhood offices, which take care of the vulnerable people in their districts. They already distributed mattresses to those, who had lost their homes due to the detonation. They also help with hygiene kits in order to prepare the population for the impending rise in infection numbers.

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„The rising Covid-19 numbers as well as the many additional casualties bring the health care system to its limits“, reports Roland. „There was a lockdown, but it was suspended for the necessary relief efforts after the explosion. A second lockdown could not be imposed effectively due to the seething mood of the population, it was eased after only a few days.“ The Covid-19 infection numbers have risen dramatically in the weeks following the explosion, a further decline of the infection status is to be feared.

Immediately after the explosion the Lebanese humedica team was on site in Beirut with its clinic bus. Photo: humedica

Women are sewing face masks

„We asked the refugee women in the neighborhood offices to sew face masks. The revenue is their income, the masks become part of the aid packages, humedica distributes with its partner AMEL,“ Roland continues. Furthermore, it is planned to support people, who cannot afford medical treatment. „We take care of especially hard cases, who are not able to pay for medical care without our support and whom we believe to have good success prospects for medical surgery. Even so we already know that our financial means are not sufficient for all of them, we are confident that we can make a real impact here,“ Roland explains the aid approach.

There is still much to be done. The first emergency aid after the explosion was just a start. Now it is important to have staying power to provide long-term and sustainable help.

Our help depends on your support.

Thank you very much for supporting our work and for donating for the people in Beirut.

Donate now
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