Beirut Explosion: Responding in the Aftermath

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A cataclysmic explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020 killed well over 200 people and injured another 6,000. It was one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history. Emergency rooms are over capacity with badly injured people, and medical supplies are quickly being depleted with no restock available. A large swath of the city has been destroyed or damaged, leaving families unable to return home in the middle of a pandemic and financial crisis. With the port inoperable, expensive air shipments are currently the only way to get humanitarian relief into the country.

Anera has 60 staff in Lebanon helping to rebuild after this tragedy. We will keep this page updated with the latest information on Anera’s response.

If you have questions, please visit our Beirut FAQ page for answers.

August 4, 2021

Where We Are One Year After the Blast

“Here we are, one year after the port explosion on August 4, 2020. We might have expected to be celebrating the reconstruction of Beirut. In reality, though, there’s very little that’s good to talk about. The situation is miserable.” Read an op ed from Anera Country Director Samar El Yassir.

Lilian and her family suffered terrible loss in the Beirut explosion. Anera donors thankfully came through to rebuild the family’s dental clinic.

Today, Beirut is still rebuilding, as the situation in Lebanon continues to worsen. Anera donors and staff got to work just hours after the explosion and have continued working ever since. People like you stepped up immediately, ready to provide crucial aid towards triage efforts the night of the explosion, in addition to sustained relief and repairs in the months after. Read what your support has helped to accomplish one year after the Beirut blast.

Anera teams have assessed 1,800+ structures in Beirut. We repaired 1,198 homes and businesses over the past year and are in the process of working on another 200. Check out our latest Beirut situation report to learn more.

Anera's Beirut blast situation report for the one year anniversary

February 4, 2021

Report on Anera’s Work in Beirut Six Months After the Blast

Today marks the six month anniversary of the Beirut blast. While our Anera staff have worked through their fair share of crises and extreme conditions, the August 4 explosion was truly extraordinary. In a matter of seconds the landscape and history of Beirut was changed forever.

Since the explosion, Anera has been actively responding to the aftermath. The physical devastation to residential buildings forced many Beiruti families to leave their homes to stay with relatives or find temporary rentals elsewhere. Others had no choice but to stay in their damaged homes. 

A beautiful old apartment building pictured from before the Beirut blast juxtaposed with the damage the explosion did.
A beautiful old apartment building pictured from before the Beirut blast juxtaposed with the damage the explosion did.

At the outset, Anera made it a goal to restore people’s homes to at least the way they were and, in some cases, to improve their condition. In every home repair, we are following the minimum standards established by the UN’s Shelter Working Group: installing reliable plumbing systems, doors for privacy, an electrical outlet in each room, and so on. For many of the families, this means the repairs will actually improve the standard of housing from what it was before the blast. 

We have worked as quickly as possible, but it is taking longer than initially anticipated. Coordination among responding organizations is complex and COVID lockdowns have caused snags in program delivery. The current one-month lockdown has been the most restrictive so far.

Since the days immediately after the blast, when our construction students went out to informally visit damaged houses and fill in surveys, Anera has rehabilitated 500 homes and 80 shops. We are in the process of working on another 120 and have identified, so far, 1,000 homes for intervention. They are scattered through the neighborhoods of Zkak El Blat, Khandak El Ghamik, Bachoura, Burj Hammoud, Karantina, Achrafiye, Rmeil, Mar Mikhael and Gemmayze.

This is a portion of the UN Interagency Coordination map for repairs to homes in Beirut. Anera is indicated in teal green. We coordinate closely with other organizations on the ground.

We are gradually moving closer into the blast site with some of our rehabilitation work. One new initiative is our work on the facades of buildings near where the explosion happened. Where other organizations have set up scaffolding for work on the buildings, we have patched up the facades to prevent water damage and painted them. These cosmetic changes may seem like a lesser priority, but they truly have brought joy to people. Many buildings looked fairly decrepit to begin with, so these interventions are very welcome. We are also fixing other common spaces like stairs and roofs. Anera does not want to leave things half finished.

A facade of a Beirut building that Anera rehabilitated
One of the facades of a building that Anera rehabilitated in the Beirut neighborhood of Achrafiye.

In addition to our home and shop repair work, Anera has shipped and distributed 34 containers – 224 tons – of donated medicines and healthcare supplies to Beirut hospitals. Another 11 shipments are in process. Their total worth is $33.2 million and they include PPE, chemotherapy medicine, COVID antibody tests, disability aids, anesthetics, and much more.

Medical aid donated by MedWish International at Karantina Hospital.
A medical aid donation from MedWish International at Karantina Hospital.

Institutional donors like UNICEF, Muslim Aid, Alumbra Innovations Foundation, Direct Relief, Americares, IHP, METAD, CMMB, Airlink, and hundreds of individuals have come forward to generously support our ongoing efforts.

There is still so much to be done and the people of Beirut are so grateful for the support!

January 4, 2021

Supporting Beirut Hospitals in the Midst of Crisis

In response to the emergency situation created by the port explosion, Anera completed distribution of an Americares medical aid donation by late September 2020. We distributed the medical shipment of essential items like saline, dextrose and lactated ringer solutions to the historic Hôtel-Dieu de France in Beirut and other healthcare facilities. We recently visited the hospital to see how the medicines are allowing them to continue their operations. Staff at the hospital say this aid “has been vital to our sustained work in mitigating the epidemic.”

December 26, 2020

Distributing Blankets, Hygiene Kits, and Food Parcels to 200+ Families in Beirut, Lebanon

With help from youth volunteers, we recently distributed blankets, personal hygiene kits, and food parcels to 200+ families in the Beirut area who were impacted by the port explosion, as well as others in need. Anera organized and carried out the distribution in cooperation with UNICEF LebanonCaritas LebanonLutheran World ReliefJohnson & Johnson and International Health Partners.

December 10, 2020

Beirut Situation Report #6

Check out our sixth in a series of one-page reports that give a big picture summary of Anera’s response to the emergency in Beirut.

Anera's Beirut Response Situation Report for December 10, 2020

December 3, 2020

Distributing Food and Hygiene Kits

In the months following the port explosion, cases of COVID-19 have soared in Lebanon. The situation means ensuring widespread access to hygiene materials is critically important. Meanwhile, hunger is a growing problem in the wake of the economic crisis.

To address these twin problems, the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund has launched a nation-wide campaign to distribute hygiene and food parcels to families affected by the Beirut blast and marginalized communities across Lebanon that are impacted by COVID-19 and the lockdowns.

The Lebanon Humanitarian Fund selected Anera, a pioneer in large-scale aid distributions and relief campaigns, as its main project implementer. In line with Anera’s belief in a bottom-up approach to humanitarian work, we partnered with efficient local organizations to facilitate the distribution process.

Through the program, Anera and our partners identify the families most in need of support — those who have been greatly impacted by the blast, who lost their family breadwinners, their homes and their belongings — to receive food and hygiene aid.

With the support of our grassroot local partners, Anera is distributing 16,000 food and hygiene kits to more than 4,000 households affected by the Beirut blast. Read the full story.

Salam Moghrabi
Salam Moghrabi, project supervisor with our partner Dar Al Amal Association, says their needs assessment surveys found many people in grave circumstances: families in dire need of psychological and financial assistance.

November 17, 2020

Beirut Situation Report #5

Check out our fifth in a series of one-page reports that give a big picture summary of Anera’s response to the emergency in Beirut.

Anera's regularly updated situation report from Beirut. Issue 3 | August 25, 2020

November 12, 2020

Distributing Food

With funding from Lebanese Humanitarian Fund, in coordination with WFP, Anera is delivering food parcels and hygiene kits to 4,100 families affected by the Beirut port explosion. Each three-box food parcel weighs 140+ pounds. The food can feed a five- or six-person family for one month. Each family is receiving two food parcels and two hygiene kits over the course of four months, until the end of January 2021.

Anera trained 27 volunteers to identify the families who had the greatest need of help. We paid our volunteers a daily wage as part of our cash-for-work program with UNICEF.

The project also employs our students from cooking classes to make and distribute 12,000 hot meals to 400 families over the course of 60 days.

Boxes of food are ready for families to pick up in Beirut.
A batch of hot meals cooling before the lids are affixed.

November 6, 2020

Distributing Quilts, School Supplies & Hygiene Kits

Thanks to a generous donation from Lutheran World Relief, Anera went to schools affected by the Beirut explosion and distributed:

  • 31,800 quilts
  • 5,250 school kits
  • 22,100 personal care kits
  • 2,250 baby care kits

November 2, 2020

220 Homes and 22 Medical Shipments

Anera has so far surveyed 1,700 homes, completed renovations on 220, and is in the process of working on 200. Our teams repair broken windows and doors and damaged ceilings, walls and plumbing. Winter is coming and we are moving as quickly as possible to make sure that the most vulnerable displaced persons are able to return home as quickly as possible. We give top priority to women-headed families with young children.

Our medical donations team is working on multiple medical aid shipments, which include emergency supplies, chronically needed medicines and PPE.
We currently have 22 shipments in Lebanon, either delivered or going through the clearance process in Beirut.

Students from Anera’s vocational courses in construction repair Beirut homes.

October 2, 2020

Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) Donation of PPE & Medicine Delivered to Beirut Hospitals

Our amazing medical donations team in Lebanon delivered a shipment of personal protective equipment and vital medicines, donated by CMMB, to Saint George Hospital University Medical Center in Beirut.

October 2, 2020

Anera in 2020

At our Global Gala today, we shared this film collage of the work our teams in Lebanon and Palestine have done to respond in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion and to the COVID-19 pandemic.

September 17, 2020

Repairing Damaged Homes After the Beirut Blast

Anera is working with partners like Muslim Aid, to repair damaged homes in Beirut, Lebanon. So far, 800 homes have been assessed, 250 rehabilitated and 150 are in progress.

Thank you to our Anera community and wonderful partners like Muslim Aid for supporting the people of Beirut during this difficult time.⁣⁣

September 2, 2020

One Month After The Blast

At the one-month point since the Beirut blast on August 4, we want to bring you up-to-date on Anera’s response. Our community of individual and institutional donors has really come out for Beirut, so far giving $1.88 million to help provide relief to injured and displaced families. Anera’s medical donation partners are also rapidly responding with shipments of medicines and healthcare supplies worth nearly $25 million dollars.

Distributing Relief Items
Within days of the explosions, Anera set up a tent in the Mar Mikhael neighborhood, about a kilometer from the blast site. From our location at the Laziz beer factory in Mar Mkhayel, we have mobilized hundreds of youth volunteers from all over Lebanon to clean up rubble and glass, sort trash, make and distribute sandwiches, and hand out water, face masks, and Johnson & Johnson-donated hygiene kits to families affected by the explosion.⁣

Delivering Medicines and PPE
Anera has a well-established medical donations program in Lebanon and our team was quickly able to spring into action. We maintain a continuously updated needs list of emergency medicines and medical supplies based on our ongoing direct communications with hospitals and medical clinics in Beirut.

We communicate the needs to our amazing network of partners that includes Direct Relief, Americares, IHP, HPIC, CMMB, Lutheran World Relief, Heart-to-Heart, Wheels-to-Heal, Hikma, and others. Our medical donations team is working on 20+ shipments for Beirut. We currently have four shipments going through the clearance process in Beirut: an Americares shipment of donated anesthetics, an HPIC shipment of donated chronic disease medicines, a CMMB shipment of donated antiviral and chronic disease medicines, and a procured shipment of PPE from China. Last week, we delivered a 56-ton shipment of donated supplies.

Rehabilitating Homes
Anera assessment teams with backgrounds in construction, social work and engineering have begun visiting Beirut neighborhoods affected by the blast. We work in areas that were already economically vulnerable, and then suffered the most from the blast: Karantina, Borj Hammoud, the Zkak El Blat and Basta Tahta areas of the Bachoura neighborhood, the Beydoun area of Achrafiye, and Gemmayze and Mar Mikhael.

Anera has so far surveyed 550 homes, completed renovations on 16, and is in the process of working on 100. Our teams repair broken windows and damaged doors and roofs, which allows the most vulnerable displaced persons to return home as quickly as possible. Women-headed families with young children get top priority.

Anera's Beirut Response Situation Report for September 2, 2020

August 26, 2020

Update on Anera’s Rehabilitation Work

As of today, Anera has assessed 500 homes. We have fully repaired 12 and are currently working on rehabilitating another 30.

August 25, 2020

Beirut Situation Report #3

Check out our third in a series of one-page reports that give a big picture summary of Anera’s response to the emergency in Beirut.

August 24, 2020

227 Pallets Arrive in Beirut

Anera today received a plane full of medicines, medical supplies, and personal protective equipment, in response to the August 4 blast in Beirut. Donated by Direct Relief and others, and valued at over $12 million, the shipment comes to Lebanon as a direct response to the calamitous explosion that killed and injured thousands of people. The flight landed today at Beirut’s International Airport, and will be distributed over the following days. In partnership with Direct Relief, the American Task Force for Lebanon (ATFL), the Afya Foundation, FedEx and others, this is Anera’s first of many expected medical donation deliveries in response to the blast. Read more.

Just six hours after this 56-ton shipment of medicines and healthcare supplies arrived at the #Beirut airport, it was cleared and is now at the Hariri Hospital. From this location, Anera staff will quickly distribute the vitally needed items to primary health centers around the city.

August 21, 2020

Anera coordinates a day of service in Beirut

Today, Anera’s Lebanon staff hosted a day of action to mobilize our youth volunteers in service to those communities impacted most by the Beirut explosion. Teams of young people fanned out through the neighborhoods of Mar Mkhayel and Bourj Hammoud.

They delivered food parcels and hygiene kits to refugees, Lebanese and migrant community workers. Anera also sent out teams of construction students from our vocational education classes to evaluate and rehabilitate damaged homes.

This day of service was a collaborative effort. Johnson&Johnson generously donated the hygiene kits. Our amazing Bekaa team banded together and funded and packed the food parcels we distributed. And Muslim Aid USA provided the funding for the home rehabilitation work we are carrying out. We were also delighted to have representatives from Muslim Aid, visiting from the United States, accompanying us today.

A report from Anera Communication Manager Serene Dardari on Anera’s special day of service in Beirut.

Anera’s Bekaa team pools their personal donations to help Beirut

A special thank you to our team in Bekaa for pooling donations from their own funds and those of local partners to assemble food parcels for vulnerable people in Beirut in the wake of the devastating explosion. Each of the 119 food parcels includes: rice, lentils, two bags of pasta, two cans of beans, a can of hummus and storage bags.

August 13, 2020

Anera is Starting Rehab on 24 Homes

“Over the past couple of days, I set out to conduct damage assessments at homes in my beloved hometown of Beirut. I had with me a team with backgrounds in construction, social work and engineering. We confined ourselves to Beirut’s Borj Hammoud neighborhood, one of the worst hit by the explosion last week…

“Our team identified 24 homes that we will immediately begin rehabilitating with new windows and other repairs. We will employ our excellent graduates of our construction job skills classes from the Beirut Palestinian refugee camps and vulnerable Lebanese communities to do some of the work. While this rehab work begins, we will continue assessments and identify more homes, in coordination with other humanitarian actors on the ground. There is so much need!”

Read the full story from Leen Ataya, Anera’s education program manager in Beirut.

August 10-11, 2020

Working in Economically Vulnerable Neighborhoods of Beirut

Anera’s Lebanon team completed an impact assessment to identify and target the most urgent needs facing the victims of the explosion. Based on the data gathered, Anera has prioritized shelter, food, and health as the key areas of focus in our response.

We will work in neighborhoods of Beirut that were already economically vulnerable, and then suffered the most from the blast, such as Karantina, En Nahr, Bourj Hammoud, Zkak El Blat, Basta Al Tahta, Beydon, and disadvantaged parts of Achrafieh and Ras Al Nabaa.

Check out our second in a series of one-page reports that give a big picture summary of Anera’s response to the emergency in Beirut.

August 9, 2020

Mobilizing Relief Efforts

August 8, 2020

Beirut Blast Situation Report

This is the first in a series of one-page reports that give a big picture summary of Anera’s response to the emergency in Beirut.

August 7, 2020

Arranging Shipments to Beirut

Anera’s medical donations team is working with Americares, Direct Relief, HPIC, Heart-to-Heart and International Health Partners on six shipments of medical supplies to be air freighted from the US and UK to Lebanon. Shipments include emergency supplies, chronically needed medicines and personal protection equipment (PPE) against COVID-19, as cases rise. 

August 6, 2020

An Appeal From Lebanon

Serene Dardari, Anera’s communications manager in Lebanon

August 5, 2020

August 4, 2020

Explosions in the Port of Beirut

Two explosions occurred in Beirut. The second blast killed more than 150 people and injured 5,000 others. The blast was linked to about 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been confiscated by the Lebanese government from an abandoned ship and stored in the port since 2014. The blast is regarded as having been among the most powerful non-nuclear explosions in history.

Anera has a team of 60 staff in Beirut and six offices outside the capital. All are physically fine, but shaken. Many had damage to their homes, as did Anera’s office in Badaro.

A drone picture shows the scene of an explosion at the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)



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