By the 20th of November, 9,800 vulnerable families who were affected by the Beirut Port Explosion had received the first round of direct financial assistance provided by the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC). 8500 of these families already received the second round of aid, with the remaining families due to receive it before the end of December.
As a response to the 4th of August Beirut Port Explosion, the LRC committed to provide direct financial assistance of 300 USD per months, for a period of 7 months, to at least 10,000 of the most vulnerable affected families. This basic assistance is meant to help the families address their priority needs such as food, medication, winterization and healthcare. It is not meant to replace assistance for repairing damaged houses.
The families were selected after the assessment of more than 30,000 households, and based on specific vulnerability criteria such as families having difficulties in meeting their most urgent needs, people with special needs, families with damaged or destroyed apartments, injuries, problems in accessing healthcare and/or medicine, single female headed household and age considerations. In coordination with other humanitarian organizations and to avoid duplication of efforts, the LRC focuses its relief efforts on the following areas: Achrafieh, a part of Bourj Hammoud, Mdawar, Rmeil, Saifi, Bachoura, Zkak el Blat.
The financial support is delivered through ATM cards, which the families can use to withdraw the aid in USD. The LRC chose to deliver the aid in USD instead of local currency, because most of the donations received by LRC in response to this crisis were given in USD. Providing assistance in USD also offers maximum financial benefit to the family receiving the aid, and value of money as well as transparency towards the donors.
Until the 15th of November 2020, LRC had received a total of 27.1 million USD (confirmed and received donations) in contributions from individuals, groups and companies, to respond to this crisis. 80% of these funds will be used to provide direct financial assistance to the families affected by the explosion, and 20% will be used to respond to the COVID19 pandemic and to sustain the vital free services that are provided to the population across Lebanon, mainly ambulance services and blood transfusion services.
20.5 million USD have already been committed to support the 9,800 families over 7 months, with more families being added as they are identified. LRC will continue doing assessments for until the end of the year to reach the maximum number of vulnerable families.
As some families were not home when LRC completed its first assessment, a dedicated hotline has been set up to receive requests, feedback and complaints. The hotline can be called 24/7 on the 4-digit number 1760. The hotline is dedicated to the households affected by the Beirut Blast response, as unfortunately the Lebanese Red Cross does not have the financial means to provide this same support across Lebanon.
In addition to the financial aid, LRC has provided food parcels, hygiene kits, primary healthcare services, blood units and ambulance services to more than 200,000 persons since the 4th of August.
In its efforts to be as transparent and accountable to donors, partners and the population, the Lebanese Red Cross has also committed to an external financial audit, which will cover the period from the 4th of August 2020 until the end of the relief efforts in the 3rd quarter of 2021. The report will be published on LRC’s website www.redcross.org.lb and will be accessible to the public.
The Lebanese Red Cross extends its thanks and appreciation to all those who have supported its crisis response efforts, and renews its commitment to provide neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable, to the utmost of its capacities.
As part of the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the objective of LRC is always to assist people based on need and independently of any other factor.