Utter devastation in Beirut: MAP’s emergency response

Photo credit: dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

Beirut is a scene of utter devastation in the aftermath of a massive explosion at Karantina sea port that sent shock waves across Lebanon’s capital on Tuesday afternoon.

At least149 confirmed deaths have been reported, with over 5,000 wounded. It is expected that the toll will rise further as many are still missing and possibly trapped under rubble. 

Donate now to help support MAP’s emergency response

The reason of the blast is not confirmed yet, but it is suspected that a fire led to the explosion of an estimated 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate stored at a warehouse in the seaport.

Many families have lost their homes and the hospitals are flooded with casualties.

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is a decades old and well-established medical charity that works in Lebanon, and is in need of support. MAP trustee, Ghassan Abu Sittah, a Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon who has been treating the injured, reported this morning that they have already run out of sutures and disposables. Ghassan has worked with MAP through many emergencies over the years. He said:

“You find yourself in an unending tsunami of injured humanity. Shuja’iyah massacre on 20 July 2014, the March of Return demonstrations on the eve of the US embassy move on 14 May 2018 and last night in Beirut.”

MAP’s team in Lebanon is working with the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) to support the emergency response. Hospitals in Beirut, which have suffered shortages in medical supplies for many months due to the economic crisis, are now overwhelmed by the large number of casualties. Some hospitals were damaged by the blast and had to transfer patients to other hospitals.

Despite very limited resources, PRCS have mobilised their ambulances and medical teams to join the rescue operations and Haifa hospital, the PRCS hospital in Beirut, has opened its doors to the injured.

Immediate needs include oxygen masks, Gipsona casts, intravenous fluids, bandages, gauze, syringes, x-ray films, surgical blades, disinfectants, suturing materials, magnesium sulphate for burns, antibiotics and other medical supplies and emergency room supplies.

Please donate now to help support MAP’s emergency response

MAP’s Lebanon Director, Dr Ali Dakwar, said:

“The situation in Beirut is dire, hospitals are struggling to cope, many people continue to search for their loved ones. MAP is responding directly to help local PRCS hospitals treat the injured through the provision of essential medical supplies. Needs in Beirut are great and international support is critical to prevent the complete collapse of the health system here.” 

Footage filmed in Beirut in the aftermath of the explosion and circulated on social media. Camera person unknown.

Before the explosion, Lebanon was already on the brink of collapse amid a severe economic crisis in recent months. At the same time, hospitals have been dealing with a surge in COVID--19 (coronavirus) cases, and there are serious concerns the virus could spread further as the injured flood in.

Throughout our history, MAP has responded to many emergencies in Lebanon and we are ready to respond again.

Our thoughts are with everyone in Beirut during this harrowing time.

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