On August 4, 2020, a massive explosion rocked the city of Beirut, Lebanon at the Port of Beirut. Over 300,000 people were displaced and became homeless, with billions of dollars in damage. More than 10,000 buildings were destroyed, hundreds of heritage structures were damaged and 190 people were dead, more than 6,500 were wounded.
This tragedy, in conjunction with the ongoing economic crisis (over 50% of the population under the line of poverty and in dire need of help) and the COVID-19 pandemic still wildly spreading, has driven the René Moawad Foundation to lead an emergency response initiative promptly after the explosion. This emergency relief aims at alleviating pain and enabling aid to the affected population on many fronts.
Beirut Emergency Relief
René Moawad Foundation (RMF) launched multiple initiatives to contribute to the relief and emergency response measures.
- RMF is providing livelihood assistance supporting affected families with basic needs, including distribution of food and hygiene kits, clothing, and others.
- René Moawad Foundation to date has distributed 1500 food boxes to 6000 disadvantaged people in Rmeil, Geitaoui, Achrafieh, Bourj Hammoud and Nabaa in partnership with Plan International, Jobs for Lebanon, and Amliyeh in addition to 1231 Hygiene kits distributed to 1231 young girls and women. Our Board Members Natasha Akda and Nina Idriss have contributed to this initiative via their respective organizations, Jobs for Lebanon and Amliyeh.
- During August and September, 7 tons of flour have been distributed to 250 affected bakeries and households in Beirut, funded by The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs’ Crisis and Support Centre.
- RMF implemented an emergency response activity launched by the USAID- funded Community Support Program to hasten the districts’ restoration, along with providing 200 work opportunities to residents affected by the Beirut blast and the economic crisis. 400 tons of recycled rubbles were removed from 30 neighbourhoods.
- RMF is providing accommodation to families who lost their shelters in partnership with Lebanese Swiss Bank.
- René Moawad Foundation is providing health care services to the affected populations and psychosocial support to traumatized children and adults.
- In partnership with Project Hope, RMF secured 66 boxes of medical supplies to sustain 40,000 people for 3 months, through 7 health facilities and Non-governmental organizations. Additionally, 85,214 items of personal protective equipment (including different types of masks, face shield, gloves, shoe covers, bouffant caps) were distributed to the 4 devastated hospitals in Beirut and 4 health facilities in Zgharta- North of Lebanon to ensure the protection of health care workers from exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Syringes were also provided to the hospitals in Beirut.
- A specialized team is supporting psychologically traumatized kids and adults. The Foundation is also providing educational help to students who had to drop out of school after Beirut explosion.
- RMF Lebanon is currently providing the shipping logistics, customs clearance, warehousing and distributing all medical and food relief shipments sent from the US by a Coalition of US Lebanon related NGOs, RMFUSA being one of them.
- René Moawad Foundation already launched a rehabilitation intervention in parts of the disaster area. The rehabilitation included cleaning up the streets from the post-explosion debris by RMF team members and volunteers.
- The restoration intervention included the assessment of the damage level of affected homes and neighborhoods in close partnership with Dar El Handasah and MAN enterprise. The efforts of the rehabilitation team at RMF are consolidated with the volunteered engineers from Dar El Handasah, to organize and prioritize the rehabilitation works of every inspected unit, in addition of the issuing of the bill of quantity.
- RMF is cooperating on the ground with Lebanon of Tomorrow in the identification of vulnerable cases, in addition to a collaboration with LECICO to offer sanitary ware for affected families.
- So far, RMF has rehabilitated 135 houses and SMEs with the financial support of RMF USA and is in the process of working on 35 more.