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Press Release

IRC launches emergency response in Beirut as needs grow after explosion and amidst coronavirus crisis

The International Rescue Committee is launching an emergency response to provide immediate cash and economic assistance to those impacted and displaced by Tuesday’s explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. The IRC is concerned that the needs of the most vulnerable, including refugees, will go unmet as the city struggles to recover from the impact of the explosion, as well as facing a coronavirus crisis.

Mohammad Nasser, Acting Lebanon Country Director, said,

“This latest crisis will only further deepen the suffering of people that have already been pushed to the brink. The economy has been in freefall for months and everyone in Lebanon  - Lebanese and refugees alike - has been struggling. Reports indicate that this blast has displaced 300,000 people from their homes, and an already overwhelmed health system is now being stretched to breaking point. 

We have been heartened by the natural resilience and solidarity of the Lebanese to overcome this crisis, and we are launching a response to provide cash to those impacted to help them get back on their feet and begin to rebuild. In addition to the catastrophic events of recent days, the Lebanese people have been faced with an economic collapse and increasing scarcity of food, as the country confronts a global pandemic. The IRC’s support will help them meet their immediate needs in the aftermath of this terrible incident.” 

In a recent survey, the IRC found that 87 percent of households we spoke to said that lack of food was a critical concern for them - and this figure jumped to 97 percent for those with a family member who has a disability. Most have been completely cut-off from their sources of income. This recent incident will only compound the major economic needs for the Lebanese people. 

The IRC began working in Lebanon in 2012, supporting both Syrian refugees and vulnerable Lebanese communities. The organisation now implements education, economic recovery and development, and women’s and child protection programs in all regions of Lebanon. It also provides legal assistance and skills training, and across all programming it works to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.

Donate to the IRC's emergency response here.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.