Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

2020 Beirut Explosion

Thanks to the generosity of the Australian community, the appeal raised $787,360.

A thank you from NRL Rabbitohs star Josh Mansour.

These donations are supporting the work of Lebanese Red Cross to provide humanitarian support for those affected by this devastating event.

So far, our colleagues at Lebanese Red Cross have helped more than 200,000 people through their emergency services since the explosion on 4 August 2020, including:

  • Treatment and transportation to 3,741 people from the blast site

  • Primary healthcare for 16,158 people

  • 15,750 blood units distributed to hospitals

  • Food and essentials for 95,284 people

  • 6,720 people provided psychosocial support

  • 10,000 families receiving ongoing emergency cash grants 

  • 52,258 household assessments

Moving forward, Lebanese Red Cross is focused on helping Beirut get back on its feet. This will range from more cash grants and support for families and small businesses, to repairing water and sanitation systems, and helping people affected by the explosion to stay safe through COVID-19.

Funds raised from the Beirut Explosion Appeal are providing immediate and longer-term humanitarian support to those affected by the explosion, including:

  • Critical emergency relief assistance such as food, water, sanitation, shelter and health initiatives including first aid, ambulance services and blood;
  • Longer term assistance for Beirut’s recovery, with a focus on health, shelter, water and sanitation.
  • Support for our local partner, Lebanese Red Cross to rebuild its damaged buildings and equipment, and to safely operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Beirut Explosion Appeal

On August 4, an enormous explosion destroyed the port of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. At least 200 people died and more than 6,500 were injured. Areas of Beirut close to the port sustained heavy damage, including hospitals, residential areas and water infrastructure. More than 300,000 people, many of whom are children, have had their homes destroyed or damaged and remain unable to return to them.

Lebanese authorities have stated that the cause of the explosion was a small fire at the port, which spread to a warehouse containing 2,700 tonnes of explosive material which then detonated, causing the main explosion. The shockwave from the explosion reached Beirut’s outer limits, 24km from the blast site. It has been estimated that the explosion was equivalent to a 4.5 magnitude earthquake. The sound of the blast could be heard as far away as Cyprus, located 240km away. 

This blast happened against a backdrop of a country struggling with an economic crisis and COVID-19. 

Our colleagues at Lebanese Red Cross have been on the ground helping since the beginning. In the immediate aftermath of the explosion,  125 ambulances and 375 emergency medical staff were mobilized from around the country to help treat and evacuate over 3,700 injured people. Mobile health units were set up around the city to help alleviate the pressure on hospitals and Red Cross teams were transporting patients with intensive care needs to hospitals outside of Beirut.

Along with their ongoing provision of emergency medical and blood services, Lebanese Red Cross assisted with search and rescue efforts, provided psychosocial support, helped families to locate missing loved ones, and assessed damages to understand the kind of support affected communities needed to recover. 

They also helped people with their immediate needs for temporary shelter, food, water, hygiene kits, mattresses, masks, gloves and other essential relief and cash assistance.

In the long term, Lebanese Red Cross are working with Beirut’s communities to help them recover. Providing cash grants so people can repair their damaged homes, businesses can get back up and running, and families can buy food and pay the bills. They are also providing ongoing psychosocial support  people recover from this traumatic event.
 
Throughout their response to the Beirut Port explosion, Lebanese Red Cross have maintained activities across the country in response to COVID-19.

People concerned for the welfare of family and friends in the region, should first attempt to contact them directly. If the person overseas is an Australian citizen, they should call the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135 (for enquirers in Australia) or +612 6261 3305 (for enquirers overseas). For other enquiries, contact our Tracing Service.

We really appreciate the generosity but we’re unable to accept or distribute donated goods.

Red Cross and agencies like the World Food Program are working hard to provide culturally appropriate food and supplies, based on what our local partner Lebanese Red Cross tells us is needed.

Sending goods, while well-meaning can sometimes do more harm than good. As with any country, all imports need to be verified and stored by custom officials. In Beirut, with a public service system that is already overstretched, under-resourced and dealing with a severe economic crisis, COVID-19 and now the explosion, any extra imports, such as your donated goods can create major delays including hindering the delivery of essential and life-saving relief items aid agencies are sending in. 

Our experience with emergencies shows that donations of money, where possible, help affected communities recover sooner. This is because people can make their own choices – including purchasing the goods they need for their own families.

If you have collected goods already, we’d gratefully accept donations of clothing at our retail stores, to on-sell and raise funds to support our work. Visit redcross.org.au/stores to find out more.

Our Beirut Explosion Appeal is now closed. If you would like to donate to support ongoing response and recovery work in Beirut you can donate via the international appeal through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent. Please note these donations are not tax deductible.

If you would like to support our work in disasters and crises overseas you can donate to our International Disaster Fund. The fund ensures whenever and wherever a disaster strikes, a Red Cross or Red Crescent team is there to help. 

The appeal has closed because Australian Red Cross has the funds to help thousands of families affected by the explosion, as part of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement’s response.

This was possible through the immense generosity of the Australian community. People from across the country donated to the appeal and held events in their communities to raise funds. The Lebanese Australian community was especially active and innovative in its fundraising efforts.  

The appeal raised $787,360

Red Cross considers four factors when responding to any disaster: the needs on the ground, our areas of expertise, the agencies and resources already in place, and how we can contribute through our local networks of volunteers and staff.

If you are interested in supporting our work in disasters and crises overseas you can donate to our International Disaster Fund. The fund ensures whenever and wherever a disaster strikes, a Red Cross or Red Crescent team is there to help. 

If you’d like to donate to our international disaster fund.