From the Field

Lebanon: Beirut explosion facts and how to help

An explosion that rocked the port of Beirut, Lebanon, on August 4 killed at least 160 people and injured about 6,000. It created a shock wave that severely damaged roads and buildings, shattering glass for miles.

In the densely populated city of more than 2 million people, about 300,000 were immediately displaced. Families have been forced to seek temporary shelter with relatives and friends or in schools or other civic buildings. According to local assessments, as many as 500,000 people may need assistance with immediate needs such as food, clothing, and shelter.

“People are on the streets, cleaning up and reconnecting with and supporting loved ones after surviving the blast. Hospitals that were already under pressure dealing with COVID-19 patients are now also inundated with people severely injured by the blast. Understandably, people are doing what needs to be done, but the aftermath has created the perfect storm to increase the risk of the virus spreading,” says Hans Bederski, World Vision’s national director for Lebanon.

World Vision staff report that all sponsored children have been accounted for and are safe. However, two staff members received minor injuries in the explosion.

Why was there unrest in Lebanon, even before this disaster?

Lebanon was already facing several crises:

  • The country has the world’s highest concentration of refugees — about 30% of the population — including 1.5 million Syrians.
  • Lebanon’s economic crisis has led to power cuts, a lack of safe drinking water, limited public healthcare, high unemployment, and protests.
  • COVID-19 infections have stretched the capacity of hospitals to provide services.

What is World Vision doing to help people affected by the Beirut explosion?

Our response is underway and expected to reach close to 120,000 individuals, half of them children, with the following support:

  • Basic needs such as food, household items, and hygiene supplies for displaced families
  • Temporary shelter or housing repairs for families whose homes were damaged
  • Psychological first aid to help children and families affected by the explosion

World Vision has been working in part of the impacted zone for 11 years.

“We are really worried about the families and children who live in the affected areas. We are trying to account for those we work with and assess the impact this has had on them,” says Josephine Haddad, World Vision communications manager. “The blast has shaken not just Beirut, but the whole country.”

World Vision has been working in Lebanon since 1975, serving local families as well as refugees, including large numbers of Syrian children and families.

An explosion at the port of Beirut, Lebanon on Aug. 4, 2020, left 300,000 people displaced. A family receives food items at a World Vision distribution in the Naba’a neighborhood, an area heavily damaged in the port explosion.
A family receives food items at a World Vision distribution in the Naba’a neighborhood, an area heavily damaged in the Beirut port explosion on August 4, 2020. (©2020 World Vision/photo by Maria Bou Chaaya)

How can I help people in need in Lebanon?

  • Pray: Lift up children and families who have been affected by the devastating explosion in Beirut.
  • Give: Help people impacted by the Beirut explosion and provide for the needs of people around the world affected by other disasters.

Disaster Relief

View All Stories
World Vision is working to limit the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the pandemic’s secondary impacts on vulnerable children and their families worldwide.
From the Field

What is the coronavirus? Facts, symptoms, and how to help

Learn facts about the Congo volcano eruption in eastern DRC and how to help
From the Field

Democratic Republic of the Congo volcano: Facts and how to help

Middle East

View All Stories
A camp for internally displaced people in northwest Syria offers a bleak and cold existence for Samer*, 5. Aid workers are working around the clock to provide emergency support, but with tens of thousands of people arriving every day, supplies are low and the humanitarian response is overwhelmed. *Name changed to protect identity.
From the Field

Syrian refugee crisis: Facts, FAQs, and how to help

How many refugees in the world? More than 65 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes, the most since World War II. About 22.5 million of them have fled their own countries as refugees. Find out the top six countries where refugees come from.
From the Field

Forced to flee: Top countries refugees are coming from