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Australian Red Cross launches Beirut Explosion Appeal

11 August 2020

As the death and injuries tolls mount after the massive Beirut explosion, Australian Red Cross has launched an appeal to support the Lebanese Red Cross’s urgent humanitarian work supporting people and communities affected by the devastating blast.

The massive blast and subsequent fires on 4 August in the port area of Beirut killed more than more than 150 people and injured more than 5,000 people. Some 200 people are reported missing and more than 300,000 people have been displaced.

Director International and Movement Relations, Australian Red Cross, Michael Annear, said Australians are keen to help those affected by the disaster.

“The best way to help the people of Beirut right now is to make a financial donation,” he said. “Australian Red Cross is supporting the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent appeal for 20 million Swiss francs (30.59 million AUD) which is channeling funds to the Lebanese Red Cross. This will cover the cost of urgent medical and relief services, and to address the long-term impacts of the explosion within the country for up to two years. 

“The explosion came during a spike of COVID-19 over the past several weeks in Lebanon, posing additional burden on already fragile health infrastructures during a spiralling economic crisis. The funds will also ensure that COVID-19 safety measures can be sustained across all aspects of the emergency response and into the long-term recovery from this disaster.”

Australian Red Cross, as part of the global Red Cross movement is working closely with the Lebanese Red Cross to ensure they have the support they need to lead an effective emergency response to the explosion, and into the long run, as Lebanese Red Cross volunteers and staff continue working around the clock to support the more than 300,000 people displaced by the disaster with medical treatment, shelter and psychosocial support.

Donations to the Beirut Explosion Appeal will be used to provide immediate and longer-term humanitarian support to those affected by the explosion. That support may include emergency relief such as food, water, sanitation, shelter and healthcare, including first aid, ambulance services and blood services.

“Financial donations allow Red Cross the flexibility to help where it is needed most, and directly supports the Lebanese Red Cross Society in their ongoing efforts on the ground,” Mr Annear said.

“It is also the quickest and most effective way to get assistance on the ground to where it is needed most.”

If Australians need assistance to locate Australian family members caught up in the disaster, please contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For Australians looking for Lebanese family members in Beirut, please contact Australian Red Cross’ Restoring Family Links service via 1800 875 199 (free call from a landline) or tracing@redcross.org.au

Donations can be made online at redcross.org.au/Beirut or via credit card by phoning 1800 REDCROSS, 9am to 5pm AEDT. Donations of $2 and above are tax deductible.

MEDIA CONTACT: Susan Cullinan, Red Cross media, 0448 326 335, scullinan@redcross.org.au, and 1800733 443,  media@redcross.org.au

Note to Editors: Since the explosions, Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) has deployed Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) and ambulances to the site, to provide emergency first aid and evacuate the injured to the closest medical facilities available. Up to 125 ambulances and 375 EMTs and staff have been involved to help the most vulnerable. The key priorities are emergency first aid and medical assistance, psychosocial support, emergency shelter as well as related clean water and sanitation services. In addition, basic needs (food and other household needs) assistance. Looking ahead, the initial analysis indicates that interrupted access to essential health services and supplies of medicines are and will remain critical needs. 

Beirut needs your help

Your donation will support Red Cross teams on the ground to provide life-saving assistance.