Oxfam is working with local partners to assess how it can help those who have lost their homes and livelihoods in the Beirut explosion.
Oxfam is extremely concerned about the ability of communities in Beirut, and the rest of Lebanon, to recover from the latest crisis. Even before the blast, Lebanon was at breaking point, with people struggling to cope with multiple, complex crises of economic collapse and a global pandemic. The scale and magnitude of the disaster means hundreds of thousands of people now need immediate aid including food, shelter, water, fuel, protection, as well as support to rebuild their lives and livelihoods well into the future.
Oxfam Lebanon Policy Lead, Bachir Ayoub said this ‘crisis on crises’ creates huge challenges for people in Lebanon for years to come:
“Lebanon was already struggling to cope. The economy has been in a tailspin, the local currency has lost approximately 80 percent of its value, and the last month has seen a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases with hospitals already under pressure.
“People whose homes have been damaged or completely destroyed will not be able to access their money to start to repair or rebuild, and essential items like wheat and medicine will soon be scarce, as the Port of Beirut, the major storage and supply point, has been obliterated. A massive effort will be required to recover.
“The devastation in Beirut is unimaginable, and the road to recovery will be long and hard. Like all of Beirut, Oxfam staff have been affected. Some have had homes completely destroyed, others have sustained injuries. Thankfully, all are safe. We stand in solidarity with all have been affected as we work together to rebuild.”
Oxfam New Zealand’s response to the deadly Beirut blast is focused on supporting the people most vulnerable to imminent food and medicine shortages, particularly Syrian refugees living in Lebanon and their host communities who were already facing economic crisis and long-term food and livelihood insecurity. Donate here: www.oxfam.org.nz/beirut
For further information and interviews please contact:
Kelsey-Rae Taylor | Kelsey-Rae.Taylor@oxfam.org.nz | +64 21 298 9854
NOTES TO EDITORS
· Oxfam has been working in Lebanon since 1993 providing humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people affected by conflict, and promoting economic development, good governance at a local and national level, and women’s rights through work with local partners. Oxfam also works with local partners to contribute to the protection and empowerment of marginalised women and men.
· Lebanon hosts the largest number of refugees per capita in the world: 1 out of every 4 people. In response to the Syria crisis, Oxfam has been providing water and sanitation, and emergency cash assistance for refugees and poor Lebanese, helping refugees with legal protection issues, and supporting small businesses and private-sector job creation. Oxfam is currently working in North Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, South Lebanon, and in Palestinian camps and gatherings.