On August 4, 2020, at the port of the city of Beirut, Lebanon, a large amount of ammonium nitrate exploded and caused at least 204 deaths and 7,500 injuries and left 300,000 people homeless.
Heart to Heart International had already been working with our partner Anera to deliver hygiene kits to people struggling under the economic impact from the coronavirus. In fact, a shipment of our hygiene kits was sitting in the port waiting for customs clearance when the explosion occurred. At first, we were certain the whole shipment had been destroyed. After our partners were able to get into the port, however, they informed us that the HHI shipment was one of the few in the port that had not been destroyed
But the region was now facing the aftermath of the explosion while still in the midst of a global pandemic. Many of the hospitals had been damaged or destroyed, and people left homeless were forced to congregate in shelters.
We immediately began working on putting together another shipment of aid with our partner Anera. Anera determined the needs of the people on the ground in Lebanon, and we sent medicines, medical supplies and more hygiene kits shortly after.
Some of the medications included in the shipment were used for treating cancer, some for treating mental health issues, and some to be used as anticoagulants. While anticoagulants are usually used for dialysis treatments to help prevent blood clots, officials in the hospitals in Lebanon have discovered they can be used for “hospitalized COVID patients as a cheaper alternative to another medication.”
Samer Olabi, a pharmacist at Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut told Anera. “The [medication] we received was crucial for our hospital, and we were even able to utilize it when other medicines were unavailable.” Read more about this story on Anera’s website.
The shipments that survived the blast and subsequent shipments also included hygiene supplies. The hygiene supplies were distributed to 500 families in need in the villages and towns of Barqayel, Al-Qurqeh, Mishmarish, Halba, Al-Amara and Wadi Al-Buffalo in Akkar Governorate. This is helping families facing difficult economic situations exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic. 1000 more hygiene kits were distributed to Lebanese families in Al-Hamra region.
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