On 4th August 2020, Lebanon saw scenes of devastation following a huge explosion in Beirut. Emergency evaluations conducted by Humanity & Inclusion (HI) in Beirut’s hospitals revealed that common injured included severe burns, complex fractures and amputations to extremities and well as thousands of major and minor injuries caused by shattered glass. 6 months on, Humanity & Inclusion continues to support victims of the explosion who are suffering from an economic crisis, the Beirut blast and now Covid-19.
“Since August, we have seen a rise in poor mental health amongst the populations we support and work with. People have been deeply affected by the explosion that occurred in Beirut on 4th August. This came at a time when people were already struggling. Since 2019, the country has been ravaged by a severe economic crisis. One-third of the employees have been made redundant and half of the Lebanese population live below the poverty line. The cost of repairing damaged homes following the blast has created an additional burden for many households. Basic services such as health services and specialised services for people with disabilities, like rehabilitation centres are becoming increasingly unaffordable. Families are having to reduce the number of meals to feed their families each day. Violence and abuse is erupting throughout the population and is often targeted at the most vulnerable population among them persons with disabilities. In response to the explosion on 4th August, we continue to prioritise providing people with mental health support and advising people where to find appropriate local services. Now, more than ever, we are focusing on responding to the consequences that the blast, the COVID-19 crisis and the economic crisis are having on the most vulnerable populations,” says Caroline Duconseille, HI Programme Director, Lebanon.
Humanity & Inclusion’s activities
Overview: Since August, HI and its local partner Mousawat conducted door-to-door home visits in Al Basta and Carantina in Lebanon; two areas which were devastated by the effects of the Beirut blast. HI has been able to provide psychological first aid and rehabilitation support to people in these areas. In addition, HI has adapted its activities to Covid-19.
- Humanity & Inclusion has a team of 20 people providing in-home psychological first aid. Each time members of the team visit someone’s home, they encourage people to talk about their personal situation. 'Psychological first aid' involves listening to people, acknowledging their experiences, and adopting a kind and attentive attitude to their distress.
- The team also normalises situations or reactions. For example, if a person explains that he or she feels too anxious to leave home, the psychologist will reply that this is normal, and many people react the same way. This can help relieve stress. Since August, HI team have conducted more than 1,500 psychological first aid sessions.
- Almost 350 people who have been physically injured received rehabilitation services from HI and partners. More than 250 caregivers were trained on how to help support their relatives living with injuries or disabilities.
- HI also distributed 170 assistive devices, including 34 mobility assistive devices like wheelchairs, canes, and walkers, as well as non-mobility assistive devices like urinary bags, short-term catheters, gel cushions and toilet chairs.
- In addition, 100 wound kits were distributed by HI and its partners to people who need to care for less serious injuries, but do not require a hospital visit.
- The teams also help to identify the needs and priorities of the victims and guide them to appropriate services or associations to support them. More than 350 people were referred to other services mainly for food, shelter, cash, and medical assistance.
- 193 households benefitted from 720 hygiene & dignity kits (including diaper and hygienic towels.)
- Everyone was provided with awareness prevention messages about COVID-19.
- Interviews and/or quotes from HI's experts upon request.
Lucy Cottle, Humanity & Inclusion UK
Mobile: +44 (0)7504989280
About Humanity & Inclusion
Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Humanity & Inclusion is an international NGO working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. With donor support, we work tirelessly alongside people with disabilities and vulnerable groups to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.