COVID-19 in Lebanon and Palestine: Anera Response Log
We will update this log regularly to provide an ongoing report back to donors on the ways Anera is responding during this COVID-19 crisis. We will also be providing occasional updates about conditions on the ground and our staff. Please visit and share this page often!
We are also creating Arabic-language COVID-19 health materials addressing common questions about the virus. Please feel free to share these resources and come back to check for updates.
May 22, 2020 | Update from Lebanon
The Mazboud Municipality in Mount Lebanon declared a state of emergency today. They have found six new positive cases of COVID-19, adding to 15 recorded yesterday. Anera was quick to respond by delivering 2,000 face masks to Mazboud today.
In Akkar today, Anera staff with their local partners distributed food parcels to 450 families, including to those in quarantine.
May 21, 2020 | New COVID-19 Cases in Gaza
News sources report 29 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Gaza among Palestinians returning in recent days from the Rafah and Erez crossings. They have been placed in isolation.
May 20, 2020 | Sewing Students Make PPE and Eid Clothes
Students participating in Anera’s vocational education classes in sewing are responding to needs for PPE across Lebanon. They have been making 300,000 face masks. More recently they began to make protective overalls. And, in celebration of Ramadan, students are making special clothes for Eid.
May 19, 2020 | Delivering Soap in Nahr El Bared, Lebanon
With our local partners today, we distributed soaps and other cleaning supplies to 6,000 families in Nahr El Bared Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon.
May 15, 2020 | Anera Makes Ramadan Meals With Soufra
May 14, 2020 | Eid Clothes in Lebanon & Coding Students go Online in Gaza
Today, we launched a sewing course at the Social Skills and Rehabilitation Association in North Lebanon. Twenty students are working to produce Ramadan eid clothes for 2,500 Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian children.
ReBootKamp in Gaza
The program produces high quality software engineers in just 16 weeks using a curriculum developed in Silicon Valley and gives participants market-ready, adaptable coding skills and other essential “soft” skills demanded by the industry.
This is what one of our students had to say about the program:
“A person without ambition is like a bird without wings — fragile. I have always had a strong desire to learn new things which adds lots of meaning and value to my life and helps enrich my personality.
Anera+RBK is a wonderful opportunity. It’s not only about learning technological skills but rather a holistic approach that improve your words and actions.
Regardless of the difficulty we face due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we managed to learn and complete the program online. “y colleagues and I have had a lot of fun in the ‘bootstrap’ first stage of the program. Now we are waiting eagerly for the ‘immersive’ next stage.”— Ahmed Maher Ibai, a student in the program
May 11, 2020 | Anera Responds to New COVID-19 Cases in Majdal Anjar
Yesterday, May 10, two people tested positive to COVID-19 in Majdal Anjar, Lebanon. The individuals came into contact with many family, friends and acquaintances. Our Bekaa team went to the Majdal Anjar Municipality today to deliver 3,500 face masks and install two sterilization gates, one for people and the other for vehicles. We also delivered 500 masks to Tomooh, a charity for people with special needs. Students in our sewing vocational course at the Regeneration and Development Society, one of Anera’s partners in the Bekaa Valley, made the masks. Funding for this work comes from UNICEF.
May 10, 2020 | Finished Distributing 3,552 Food Parcels in Gaza
The Anera Gaza team finished distributing 3,552 Ramadan food parcels. They did it in two and a half days! The parcels contain a generous amount of food, including fresh produce grown in family greenhouses that Anera has supported. Thank you, IRUSA, for your support!
May 7, 2020 | More Medicine Shipments in Gaza
Anera’s medical donations team in Gaza today finished distributing a shipment of medicines, dontated by IHP, to 17 hospitals and clinics throughout Gaza. They no sooner completed that work than they came back to Anera’s distribution center, at 9:30 in the evening, to receive yet another shipment: 10 pallets of medicines, donated by Direct Relief.
May 6, 2020 | Veggies and Vitamins
We are so excited that our food parcels in Gaza this year include fresh produce grown on Palestinian family farms that Anera has supported with greenhouses. The gorgeous eggplants and potatoes (pictured below) were bagged up yesterday and delivered to families today. This work is funded by Islamic Relief USA.
Anera has just delivered to Jerash Camp (also known as Gaza Camp) in Jordan a donation of high-dose vitamin D supplements. Healthy levels of this vitamin are crucial during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Severely low vitamin D levels are widespread among women in this Palestinian refugee camp, which can have an irreversible impact on the growth and development of children. Vitamin D can also boost the immune system during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Thank you to HPIC for this vital donation.
May 4, 2020 | Food Parcel Packing in Gaza and Sterilization Gate Building in Lebanon
Today, in Gaza, Anera employed workers to assemble a large number of food parcels. Trucks loaded with the parcels made deliveries to five different distribution centers all over Gaza. Thank you Islamic Relief USA for funding this vital work during Ramadan!
In Lebanon, 15 youths who graduated from Anera’s vocational plumbing and electricity class are constructing a sterilization gate for the entrance to Wavel camp to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is part of a larger effort to build 20 gates for camps and communities throughout the Bekaa Valley. The gates are equipped to spray bleach solutions that sterilize vehicles and steam for individuals. With local partners, Anera will mobilize volunteers from inside the camp to operate the gate and spray the camp interior.
May 1, 2020 | Still Cooking Despite Protest in Lebanon
Despite protests in Tripoli against the banks and the overall economic situation in Lebanon, Anera’s cooking students insisted on going out and cooking hot meals for struggling families in their community.
April 30, 2020 | Assembling Ramadan Food Parcels in Gaza
Today, our team began assembling Ramadan food parcels for 3,000 families throughout Gaza. Anera is distributing the food to families of five or more who live marginalized areas, have no source of income, are women-headed, and who have a member with a disability. We will also include in our parcel deliveries fresh produce grown on local Gaza family farms that Anera has supported with greenhouses. This work is funded by IRUSA.
April 29, 2020 | Mask production in Mount Lebanon
Anera is working with our local partner, the Awareness and Consolation Association, to produce masks in Mount Lebanon Governorate. These photos and video are from the masks being made by graduates of Anera’s vocational sewing class in the town of Ketermaya.
April 28, 2020 | Creating an Isolation Center in Ein El Hilweh Palestinian Refugee Camp
Anera is creating a 70-person isolation facility for UNRWA in Ein El Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. To make it happen, we are training and putting to work 51 youths participating in our vocational education program, funded by UNICEF.
There are three groups of students working on different aspects of the center. Construction and carpentry students are building rooms and painting them. Electrical students are doing the wiring. Welding students are making iron beds (pictured). We hope to soon train sewing students to make the bedding and curtains for the facility.
The work will go on for about 20 days and each student receives a daily wage. Back in the fall, during the protests, Anera pivoted our programs in Lebanon to immediately put our newly trained vocational education graduates to work responding to humanitarian needs in their communities. When COVID-19 hit, we were ready to quickly ramp up our work to respond to new challenges.
April 26, 2020 | New Shipment of Medicines in the West Bank
Anera received in our West Bank distribution center, 24 pallets filled with important medicines from IHP-UK. The shipment includes 42 different medicines, including those that treat chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and high cholesterol. The shipment also contains antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, vitamins, dermatology medicines, and others. At least 65,000 patients will benefit from this donation.
April 25, 2020 | Delivering Hygiene Kits in Burj El Burajneh Palestinian Camp
April 24, 2020 | Cooking Ramadan Meals and Delivering Food Across Lebanon
141 students from Anera’s UNICEF-funded vocational cooking classes have begun making hot meals for families in refugee camps and other vulnerable communities throughout Lebanon. Just today, they made meals for 1,100 families in Tripoli, Nahr El Bared, and Ein El Hilweh. In Burj El Burajneh, 25 youth delivered 100 meals and, in Saida, 25 youths delivered food to 350 families.
Pictures and films have been pouring in all day. Below are just a few.
April 23, 2020 | Delivering Facemasks To Wavel Palestinian Refugee Camp
April 22, 2020 | A Case at Wavel Palestinian Refugee Camp and Anera’s Response
Anera is beginning a multi-faceted response to COVID-19 in Wavel camp for Palestinian refugees in Baalbeck, Lebanon. A Palestinian refugee who fled the Syrian civil war, and who lives near the camp, tested positive for the virus today. She traveled in and out of the camp often, interacting with friends and family there. Anera is responding immediately in three different ways: delivering 3,000 facemasks, erecting a sterilization gate and the entrance, and delivering food for Ramadan to 700 families.
April 21, 2020 | Another Shipment in Gaza!
Our Anera Gaza team received six pallets containing 26 different medicines that treat high cholesterol, diabetes, asthma, and many other conditions. Staff in our Gaza distribution center practiced #COVID-19 safety precautions by spraying down all of the pallets with a bleach solution and wearing masks and gloves while handling the shipment. Thank you Americares for this great donation!
April 20, 2020 | Cooking Class Begins in Lebanon
Today, an Anera cooking class started in Beddawi Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. Twenty-five Palestinians, Lebanese and Syrians today are learning the important basics of good hygiene practices. Soon, they will be putting their new cooking skills to work making healthy, hot meals for vulnerable families during Ramadan.
April 16, 2020 | A Shipment Arrives in Gaza
Just after noon today, our Gaza team received a major shipment of 35 different donated medicines, including those that treat asthma, diabetes and hypertension. Our colleagues took all precautions against COVID-19, wearing masks and gloves and disinfecting the pallets by spraying them with a bleach solution. Thank you IHP for this generous donation.
April 15, 2020 | Taking Apps for ASU English Classes!
April 14, 2020 | Making Masks in Lebanon
The scarcity of masks worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic drives up prices and drains local markets, which means the most disadvantaged communities are the last to get these vital supplies.
In Lebanon, Anera is launching a program that meets some of the needs for masks. We are beginning to make 300,000 surgical masks for distribution to front line responders, both medical and non-medical. The fabric we’re using is SMS wrap paper, which is breathable, woven, blocks out bacteria, is anti-allergic, easily sterilized, and endures heat.
Aside from providing masks, the project provides much needed cash-for-work. This project will employ 100 youths who have gone through Anera’s vocational training programs: 50 young people will sew the masks and the other 50 will distribute them.
April 11, 2020 | Coding Boot Camp Goes Live Online in Gaza
Today, 50 amazing young women and men in Gaza started their journey to becoming professional coders. This is Anera’s second cohort of coding students, but this time it’s remote due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. We’re looking forward to following their progress over the next few months.
April 8, 2020 | COVID-19 Shipments for Lebanon and Palestine
An Americares shipment filled with donated supplies related to COVID-19 arrived at the Beirut airport. Anera will be distributing over the next days the masks, sanitizers, thermometers and other crucial items to health facilities on the front lines in responding to the virus: Rafik Hariri Hospital and Lebanese Red Crescent.
Anera has purchased COVID-19 personal protective equipment from vendors in China. These shipments, due to arrive in Palestine within the next two weeks, contains 32,000 N95 face masks, 26,000 disposable face masks, 3,600 coveralls, and 42,000 pairs of gloves.
April 6, 2020 | Share This Film!
April 5, 2020 | Disinfectants Delivered in Gaza
April 3, 2020 | In Case you Missed Them
We have two new posts from colleagues in Lebanon and Gaza describing what they are witnessing in their communities in this COVID-19 era.
“Is Gaza Unlivable?” is from Rania Elhilou, our Palestine communications manager. “For a while, as the coronavirus spread around the globe, we hoped that being cut off from the world might just protect us. Maybe we’d actually be grateful for the isolation for once! But the inevitable has happened. As of this writing, we have 12 cases of COVID-19 reported. It’s frightening to imagine how quickly the disease could spread in Gaza as one of the most densely populated places on earth with eight refugee camps. ” Read the full post.
“An Update From North Lebanon” is from Ahlan Chalabi, our area manager for North Lebanon. “Lebanon has been in a crisis since October. Since coronavirus arrived here, things are even harder. The situation is really heavy. Day workers and the vulnerable are suffering the most. But difficult circumstances also bring out people doing good work. We’re seeing a lot of solidarity and resilience. ” Read the full post.
Also, please visit our new COVID-19 health education resources page. We will be adding new materials to it regularly. All materials are in Arabic.
April 2, 2020 | Update From Lebanon
With funding from UNICEF, Anera launched pilot online classes today in Lebanon, using Google Class as a platform. We distributed tablets to 110 students and laptops to the nine participating teachers. We also trained the teachers in how to use the equipment and online platform. For some students, Anera financed an upgrade to their home wifi, so they have reliable connectivity. We chose students who have attended earlier classes, so we know their level. Our vetted and trusted partners are working closely with us on this.
Anera will also soon be working with Arizona State University, a leader in online education, on providing English classes in Lebanon. We piloted an English program with them in the past and it was very successful. ASU will provide the classes without charge!
April 1, 2020 | Update From Gaza
For the past couple days, Anera’s medical donation team has been distributing a large shipment of donated medicines from Direct Relief. The medicines are going to Shifa Hospital as well as to another 13 hospitals and clinics. It contains medicines that treat hypertension and diabetes as well as antibiotics.
Our team also delivered to Shifa Hospital two medicines that we procured locally using funds from the Ray of Light Foundation.
There are 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Gaza. All are under quarantine in the same facility.
March 31, 2020 | Update From Lebanon
A large shipment of COVID-19 related items, donated by Direct Relief gloves (see March 27 entry below for details), arrived in the Beirut port today. We will distribute the contents to the Lebanese Red Cross over the next couple days.
Anera has set up a communications tree on WhatsApp that reaches more than 100,000 people, at last count. Through this network, we share graphics with messages about the coronavirus and how to stay healthy. We monitor this activity by occasionally choosing 50 people at random and surveying them about what is working and what they need. Recently, for instance, we have been hearing that people would like to know more about coping with stress while being stuck at home.
The Anera team in the Bekaa Valley put together packages of essential materials for the prevention of the COVID-19 (containing alcohol, hand sanitizer, latex gloves and thermometers) and distributed them to the municipalities of Temnin El Foka, Temnin El Tahta, Mansoura, Qsranaba, Bednayel and Majdal Anjar. “Strengthening the role of municipalities in this crisis must be one of Anera’s main responsibilities as they are the local authorities concerned with the health of their residents,” says Lama Ghassan, Anera program manager.
We are supporting our local partner, Soufra, in helping the elderly of Burj El Barajneh. The excellent chefs of Soufra are cooking 100 meals a day and 25 youths who participated in Anera’s cooking classes are volunteering to deliver the food to the homes of elderly residents, while keeping 1.5 meters away from each other.
March 28, 2020 | Video Appeal
Anera’s very own Serene A. Dardari has a message from Lebanon about the COVID-19 pandemic, its effect on the thousands of Syrian and Palestinian refugees who live in crowded camps and what YOU can do to help.
March 27, 2020 | Expected Shipments
Anera’s medical donations team is working full out. They are in constant communication with each other, local partners in Lebanon and Palestine, and donors of medicines and health care supplies.
The team has 11 shipments in process for Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. Some are booked to ship and others are in the approval stage. In Palestine, critical medicines are arriving now that will help to alleviate an overstretched health care system just as COVID-19 cases grow. Anera is also putting together COVID-19 relief shipments for delivery there soon.
There are two air shipments arriving in Lebanon in the next couple days with these supplies related to COVID-19:
- N95 particulate respirators: 600 units
- N95 respirator face masks: 3,750 individual masks
- Hand sanitizing wipes: 28,800 individual wipes
- Adtemp II thermometers: 824 units
- Adtemp V digital thermometers: 47 units
- Surgical masks: 50,000 individual units
- Shoe covers: 7,240 units
- Gowns: 2,800 units
- Exam gloves: 23,050 units
- Operating caps: 2,000 units
- Hand soap: 960 units
- Disposable full face shields: 25 units
- Hand sanitizer
- Portable Oxygen Concentrators: 5 units
During this era of social distancing, Anera has changed our usual mode of distribution. Instead of delivering donated medicines and supplies to health facilities we are now asking our recipients to pick up their supplies outside Anera’s distribution centers.
Ahmad Al Najjar, our in-kind program coordinator in Gaza, reported that he is happiest when he is at Anera’s distribution center in Gaza City responding directly to the crises in his community, even this latest one that calls for social distancing.
March 25, 2020 | New Cases in Gaza
Authorities have reported there are another seven cases of COVID-19 in Gaza.
March 23, 2020 | Update From Gaza
Gaza has suffered 14 years of blockade. The economic situation is dire, with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, and the health care system is overstretched. There is a chronic shortage of essential medicines and health care supplies. Hospitals are not well prepared to respond to normal medical emergencies, let alone a pandemic like COVID-19.
Anera’s Gaza staff is working to procure locally and internationally the medical aid needed to hold the coronavirus at bay. We may have to purchase medicines and supplies on the local market, as donations of these items are in high demand globally. Funds for procurement, shipping and distribution will make a big difference in saving lives and slowing down the spread.
Anera is also continuing to supply safe water to hospitals, health clinics and households. We recently completed installation of a desalination system at one of Gaza’s largest hospitals as well as a child and family nutrition center. These modern, efficient systems turn Gaza’s contaminated groundwater into clean water for drinking and use in treating patients.
March 19, 2020 | How Anera is Reponding
In order to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting the virus, Anera staff across all regions (except Gaza for now) are now working remotely. There are some situations when staff must visit work sites or interact with each other. In these limited cases, they practice social-distancing protocols and follow standard COVID-19 hygiene guidance.
Anera is continuing our work, while adjusting to the changing circumstances brought on by the coronavirus. Here are a few updates from our programs:
- Transitioning our UNICEF-funded basic literacy and math, English language, and financial literacy courses to an online system. We are piloting the approach in several regions around Lebanon. All students will receive a tablet, since they have few resources of their own. Anera will test the effectiveness of communication, given poor internet connectivity in Lebanon, and the quality of learning and sharing. (Learn more about what we are doing in Lebanon.)
- Shipping supplies to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. One shipment of N95 respirator face masks, sanitizing items and portable oxygen devices will go to the Lebanese Red Cross to help them safely transfer patients with COVID-19 to hospitals. The other will go to Rafik Hariri Government Hospital, which is the main facility treating coronavirus patients. We also will procure locally more items to help Lebanon’s overstretched health care system prepare for COVID-19.
- Sending medicines and supplies to Palestine. Seven shipping containers are either on their way or about to ship. Three are heading to Gaza and four to the West Bank. They are full of medicines that treat conditions like diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease. They also contain vitamins and health care supplies such as syringes and surgical gloves.
- Delivering hygiene supplies to communities. We are working on three containers full of hygiene and baby care kits, school supplies, and blankets for delivery in disadvantaged communities across Lebanon. We also will procure locally hygiene and disinfection supplies to deliver to municipalities and individuals.
- Spreading messages for staying healthy. In Lebanon, Anera will be sharing daily videos and simple written instructions, through social channels and WhatsApp, that promote helpful guidance on topics like properly sanitizing items, hand washing, social distancing and exercising at home. In Gaza, we are airing radio spots on local stations promoting handwashing and other hygiene advice.
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