Flight With 56 Tons of Medicines Arrives in Beirut
Anera, Direct Relief, ATFL, Afya, FedEx partner on response
August 24, 2020 | Beirut, Lebanon – 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.
FedEx generously donated the shipping of these medical donations with coordination from ATFL’s CEO, Ambassador Edward Gabriel. Gabriel, who comes from a Lebanese background, secured assurances from the US Embassy-Beirut for help with customs clearance, to clear the shipment in just one day, in contrast to the weeks or months it can sometimes take.
“For Lebanese/Americans this is a labor of love and reflects our desire to honor our heritage. I am very pleased that the State Department supports our concern for the health and safety of the Lebanese people,” said Gabriel.
Direct Relief included in the shipment 227 pallets containing a wide range of medicines and medical supplies on the critical needs lists of Beirut hospitals and primary care clinics, such as IV solutions, antidiabetics, antibiotics, analgesics, cardiovascular medicines, vitamins, PPE, disinfectants, and diagnostic equipment.
“At some hospitals, shortages of medicines and medical supplies are at critically low levels and these donations cannot come soon enough. The needs in Beirut and Lebanon as a whole are huge,” says Nisreen Khalaf, director of Anera’s medical donations program.
Anera’s medical donations team solicited, received and synthesized several needs lists for all of Beirut’s healthcare facilities to share with Direct Relief and other major medical donation partners in the wake of the explosion.
“The shipment arriving today reflects the ongoing concern and support for Lebanon from many, including those at a host of companies who have stepped forward to help,” said Andrew MacCalla, Direct Relief’s vice president of emergency response and new initiatives.
“Our hearts go out to those working to rebuild their lives after the explosion, and also to health providers who were already tirelessly serving patients during the pandemic. It’s our hope that this shipment fills a critical gap, and also serves to remind the people of Lebanon that they are not alone during this challenging time.”
In the next week, after the shipment is cleared through customs, Anera’s medical donations team in Lebanon will distribute the vital medicines to the American University of Beirut Medical Center, the Lebanese American University Medical Center, Hotel Dieu de France, and the Rafik Hariri University Hospital, and several primary care centers and dispensaries. These four hospitals received the majority of those injured in the blast, treating them free of charge. Their medicine and supplies stockpiles were severely depleted as a result of the tragedy.
“This is the first time Anera has brought into Lebanon an entire plane filled with medicines,” says Lina Atat, Anera’s medical donation program coordinator in Lebanon. “The needs are overwhelming, so I hope and believe this will be the first of many.”
In just the coming month, Anera will be sending, from the US and UK, an additional 12 shipments – nine by air and three by sea – to Lebanon, with another 12 air and sea shipments in discussion.
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For 52 years, Anera has helped refugees and others hurt by conflicts in the Middle East live with dignity and purpose. Anera, which has no political or religious affiliation, works on the ground with partners in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, Lebanon, and Jordan. We mobilize resources for immediate humanitarian relief and for sustainable health, education, and economic development efforts. Our staff are from the communities they serve, navigating the politics that constrict progress to get help where it’s needed most. We will keep building better lives until hope finds its way in the Middle East.