As the country of Lebanon continued to clear the damage in the capital city of Beirut, United Nations (UN) warned of a humanitarian crisis in Lebanon that lies ahead. Amidst the economic crisis, the explosions of 4th August 2020 only seem to add up to the plethora of problems that the country has to deal with.
Before the blasts occurred, there were about one million Lebanese that lived below the poverty line and 75% of the population needed help. Along with this, 33% of the working population of Lebanon had lost their jobs. The amount of loss to property and damage that occurred due to the explosions definitely adds up to the grievances leading to a humanitarian crisis.
Approximately, 154 have died and 3 lakh people have been rendered homeless. The country was facing a rising number of COVID-19 cases prior to the disaster. Now the ones injured as the blasts shattered glasses miles away, the workload on hospitals seems to have increased. On top of this, it seems like the explosion has managed to damage three hospitals in the Achrafieh neighborhood and has made them non-functional. As per World Health Organisation (WHO) sources, 500 hospital beds have been lost.
Also, the social tension that is at a rise in the country increases the risk of community transmissions which will further add to the strain the health system already faces.
According to WHO: “ the health system was seriously damaged, with three hospitals out of action”.
The port of Beirut has been seriously damaged and to an extent that a 140-meter wide crater has replaced the dockside and now is filled with seawater. Beirut’s port was the largest port of the country and seeing its current condition a shortage of food supplies is highly likely. Apart from this, many warehouses that held supplies also stand damaged further worsening the situation. As per the World Food Programme (WFP) the limited food supply could hike the prices so high that many won’t be able to afford things to eat.
As per the World Food Programme: “ the damage to Beirut’s port would interrupt food supplies and push prices up”.
Lebanon has been receiving emergency supplies from international organizations and other countries of the world like the USA and India to help contain the humanitarian crisis. In the meantime, as speculations arise with regards to why ammonium nitrate (cause of the blasts) was stored in such high quantities, President Michel Aoun has rejected the needs of an international investigation. According to Aoun, the local authorities shall examine whether the blasts were triggered by any “external interference”.
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