Lebanon 'in desperate need' a year on from Beirut explosion

Christian Aid's partner Association Najdeh is providing food parcels to vulnerable families in Lebanon.(Photo: Association Najdeh)

Economic turmoil and the fallout from the massive Beirut explosion one year ago has brought suffering to countless people in Lebanon, Christian Aid has warned.

August 4 marks the one-year anniversary of the devastating explosion that ripped through the Lebanese capital, killing over 200 people and leaving at least 300,000 more homeless.

A year on, Christian Aid warns that "justice and accountability for what happened is yet to be achieved", with little or no compensation paid out to the injured and those who lost livelihoods or loved ones.

The tragedy has compounded the country's existing economic crisis, with over half of the Lebanese population now living in poverty and food costing five times what it did in 2019, the aid agency says.

UNICEF estimates that 77% of households are going without enough to eat, rising to 99% among Syrian refugees.

"People simply can no longer afford to meet their basic needs," Christian Aid said, adding that refugees, migrant workers, children and the elderly are "bearing the brunt" of the crisis.

In the past year, Christian Aid partners have helped 3,324 vulnerable households with food, hygiene kits, and cash to cover essentials like medicine or repairs to homes damaged in the blast.

Partners have also delivered Covid-19 prevention awareness sessions as part of the national effort to keep transmission rates as low as possible.

Zara Mesbah, Christian Aid's Lebanon programme manager, warned that the country is reaching breaking point.

"It's heart-breaking to watch Lebanon sink to this state of socio-economic collapse," she said.

"Corruption and mismanagement have led to an unbearable situation for almost everyone in Lebanon.

"Whilst people still try to recover from the blast last year, poverty levels continue to rise rapidly. Some people have lost everything, whether from the blast or from the economic crisis. The Lebanese people are incredibly resilient, but what will be the limit?

"We're very grateful to Christian Aid supporters and all who have donated to the Christian Aid appeal, but the needs are still rising. Lebanon is in desperate need of continued humanitarian support, structural reform and transparency."