The International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) continues to support the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) with life-saving activities reaching millions of people throughout Lebanon one year after the Beirut port explosion. The blast caused over 200 deaths, 7 500 injuries, left 300 000 people homeless and US$15 billion in property damage, but the number of people needing humanitarian assistance in Lebanon continues to rise due to economic crisis and devaluation of local currency amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
George Kettaneh, secretary general of the Lebanese Red Cross, says for many people who have lost their jobs and ability to buy food and household goods, it has become extremely difficult to buy medicines and access healthcare. He says the severe economic crisis their country is facing is shattering the lives of many people in Lebanon. “People suffering from chronic diseases can’t wait until the economic crisis is over. They need our help now to secure basic necessities such as food and medicine. We are calling on the generosity of donors to help us sustain our vital public services and to fund our response to the economic crisis,” says Kettaneh. The secretary general says since the large amount of ammonium nitrate exploded at the Beirut port on 4 August 2020, IFRC has closely supported LRC in meeting humanitarian needs of those affected. He says they have supported LRC by mobilizing resources for the emergency response and released 750 000 Swiss francs of its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund in the initial days following the explosion. “Later IFRC launched a 20 million Swiss francs global emergency appeal with the aim to assist more than 105 000 people. In addition, IFRC deployed specialized staff supporting and complementing LRC’s efforts in multiple sectors and provided financial support