Emergency Relief in Lebanon

by Anera
Emergency Relief in Lebanon
Emergency Relief in Lebanon
Emergency Relief in Lebanon
Emergency Relief in Lebanon
Emergency Relief in Lebanon
Emergency Relief in Lebanon
Emergency Relief in Lebanon
Emergency Relief in Lebanon
Emergency Relief in Lebanon
Emergency Relief in Lebanon
Emergency Relief in Lebanon
Emergency Relief in Lebanon

The situation in Lebanon remines dire, chaotic, and stressful. Drastic inflation and economic collapse, causing an accute shortage of medicine and fuel, has caused massive tension amongst the people of Lebanon. 

Anera Lebanon's Communications Manager Serene Dardari's husband Anthony and colleague Hisham filling their car with fuel using a plastic water bottle in Bekaa. They ran out of gas and not one station had fuel.

Anera Lebanon's Communications Manager Serene Dardari recently traveled back to Lebanon after 8 months away. Her time away underscored how desperate the situation has become: "People park for hours at gas stations, in lines stretching as far as the eye can see, waiting for petrol. In the meantime, gas station onwners reportedly hoard fuel, waiting for the government to remove its subsidation in order to sell their gas for higher prices" wrote Serene, in her Olive Press Blog piece titled "A Country In Depression."

Furhter depreciation of the Lira, the Lebanese currency, looks inevitable. One kilo (2.2) of meat is equal to 125,000 Lira. A normal wage for someone just entering the labormarket is around 1 million Lira. So, one kilo of meat is more than 10% of a person's monthly salary. This is unsustainable and causing what many call a "brain drain", where the country's best and brightest leave for a stronger chance at a successful and fruitful career. 

Shops like this with ‘For Rent’ signs are everywhere.

Anera, and many other organizations, have stepped up to support those who are doing their best to make ends meet. We are working with UNICEF and UNOCHA to provide cash and food assistance to refugees and other vulnerable commuities. Our programs are not only helping those on the receiving end of our aid, but also young people in the communities we serve. We employ them to help us make food and deliver other forms of humanitarian assistance. They give back to their neighbors, earn a wage and build skills. 

Nabil is a 20-year-old Palestinian refugee living in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. He is taking Anera’s vocational education course on plumbing to help position himself to find decent work in Lebanon’s grim labor market. Not only is he learning practical skills, but he is helping to restore houses to make them livable for their residents. Click here to learn about the skills that he and his classmates are gaining, and how they can earn a much-needed income after they graduate.

This is just one of the many impactful programs we are delivering. Thank you to those who contnue to support Anera and the people of Lebanon.

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March 4th marks the seventh month anniversary of the Beirut blast. While our Anera staff have worked through their fair share of crises and extreme conditions, the August 4 explosion was truly extraordinary. In a matter of seconds the landscape and history of Beirut was changed forever.

Since the explosion, Anera has been actively responding to the aftermath. The physical devastation to residential buildings forced many Beiruti families to leave their homes to stay with relatives or find temporary rentals elsewhere. Others had no choice but to stay in their damaged homes. 

A beautiful old apartment building pictured from before the Beirut blast juxtaposed with the damage the explosion did.A beautiful old apartment building pictured from before the Beirut blast juxtaposed with the damage the explosion did.

At the outset, Anera made it a goal to restore people’s homes to at least the way they were and, in some cases, to improve their condition. In every home repair, we are following the minimum standards established by the UN’s Shelter Working Group: installing reliable plumbing systems, doors for privacy, an electrical outlet in each room, and so on. For many of the families, this means the repairs will actually improve the standard of housing from what it was before the blast. 

We have worked as quickly as possible, but it is taking longer than initially anticipated. Coordination among responding organizations is complex and COVID lockdowns have caused snags in program delivery. The current one-month lockdown has been the most restrictive so far.

Since the days immediately after the blast, when our construction students went out to informally visit damaged houses and fill in surveys, Anera has rehabilitated 500 homes and 80 shops. We are in the process of working on another 120 and have identified, so far, 1,000 homes for intervention. They are scattered through the neighborhoods of Zkak El BlatKhandak El Ghamik, Bachoura, Burj HammoudKarantinaAchrafiye, Rmeil, Mar Mikhael and Gemmayze.

This is a portion of the UN Interagency Coordination map for repairs to homes in Beirut. Anera is indicated in teal green. We coordinate closely with other organizations on the ground.

We are gradually moving closer into the blast site with some of our rehabilitation work. One new initiative is our work on the facades of buildings near where the explosion happened. Where other organizations have set up scaffolding for work on the buildings, we have patched up the facades to prevent water damage and painted them. These cosmetic changes may seem like a lesser priority, but they truly have brought joy to people. Many buildings looked fairly decrepit to begin with, so these interventions are very welcome. We are also fixing other common spaces like stairs and roofs. Anera does not want to leave things half finished.

A facade of a Beirut building that Anera rehabilitatedOne of the facades of a building that Anera rehabilitated in the Beirut neighborhood of Achrafiye.

In addition to our home and shop repair work, Anera has shipped and distributed 34 containers – 224 tons – of donated medicines and healthcare supplies to Beirut hospitals. Another 11 shipments are in process. Their total worth is $33.2 million and they include PPE, chemotherapy medicine, COVID antibody tests, disability aids, anesthetics, and much more.

Medical aid donated by MedWish International at Karantina Hospital.medical aid donation from MedWish International at Karantina Hospital.

Institutional donors like UNICEF, Muslim Aid, Alumbra Innovations Foundation, Direct Relief, Americares, IHP, METAD, CMMB, Airlink, and hundreds of individuals have come forward to generously support our ongoing efforts.

There is still so much to be done and the people of Beirut are so grateful for the support!

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Anera's vocational training students sew masks
Anera's vocational training students sew masks

A cataclysmic explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020 killed over 180 people and injured another 6,500. It was one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history. Emergency rooms were over capacity with badly injured people, and medical supplies are still being depleted with no restock available. A large swath of the city has been destroyed or damaged, leaving families unable to return home in the middle of a pandemic and financial crisis. With the port inoperable, expensive air shipments are currently the only way to get humanitarian relief into the country.

Anera has 60 staff in Lebanon helping to rebuild after this tragedy. In the immediate aftermath, Anera staff in Lebanon worked to coordinate UN volunteers to begin initial cleanup and triage measures. Anera has identified 3 major areas of need: shelter rehabilitation, medical donation, and distribution of relief items.

Shelter rehabilitation

Anera assessment teams with backgrounds in construction, social work and engineering have begun visiting Beirut neighborhoods affected by the blast. We work in areas that were already economically vulnerable, and then suffered the most from the blast: Karantina, Borj Hammoud, the Zoqaq El Blat and Basta Tahta areas of the Bachoura neighborhood, the Beydoun area of Achrafiye, and Gemmayze and Mar Mikhael. Anera is working with partners like Muslim Aid, to repair damaged homes in Beirut, Lebanon. So far, 800 homes have been assessed, 250 rehabilitated and 150 are in progress.

Medical Donations:

With the Port of Beirut inoperable, all medical supplies must enter Lebanon through air shipments. Air transport is far more expensive than traditional sea shipping methods. Thanks to donors like you and Anera's institutional partners, Anera has been able to continue providing life-saving medicines for chronic conditions in Lebanon to the most vulnerable families. Anera has worked continuously to maintian an updated needs list of emergency medicines and medical supplies based on our ongoing direct communications with hospitals and medical clinics in Beirut.

We communicate the needs to our amazing network of partners that includes Direct Relief, Americares, IHP, HPIC, CMMB, Lutheran World Relief, Heart-to-Heart, Wheels-to-Heal, Hikma, and others. Our medical donations team is working on 20+ shipments for Beirut. We currently have four shipments going through the clearance process in Beirut: an Americares shipment of donated anesthetics, an HPIC shipment of donated chronic disease medicines, a CMMB shipment of donated antiviral and chronic disease medicines, and a procured shipment of PPE from China. In the last week of August alone, Anera delivered a 56-ton shipment of donated supplies.

Distributing Relief Items:

Within days of the explosions, Anera set up a tent in the Mar Mikhael neighborhood, about a kilometer from the blast site. From our location at the Laziz beer factory in Mar Mkhayel, we have mobilized hundreds of youth volunteers from all over Lebanon to clean up rubble and glass, sort trash, make and distribute sandwiches, and hand out water, face masks, and Johnson & Johnson-donated hygiene kits to families affected by the explosion. Additionally, Anera is currently employing graduates and students of our vocaitonal courses in sewing to sew masks for distribution to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


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Organization Information


Location: Washington, DC - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ANERAorg
Project Leader:
Elizabeth Obeidat
Washington, DC United States
$3,188 raised of $30,000 goal
31 donations
$26,812 to go
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