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17/09/20 09:00

Scottish Government support for Beirut

£300,000 to aid those affected by explosion.

Three charities helping the people of Beirut recover from a disastrous explosion are to be supported by £300,000 from the Scottish Government.

The explosion in the port area of the city on 4 August killed more than 200 people, injured thousands, and left up to 300,000 people homeless. 

The British Red Cross, Christian Aid and Tearfund will each receive £100,000 through the Humanitarian Emergency Fund (HEF) to run projects in the city.

The charities and local partners will provide funds to those still affected by the disaster so they can access food and security, shelter and repair to housing, medical supplies and treatment.

The funding will also support community based organisations who have taken on a range of key responsibilities to deliver vital services since the explosion - but are themselves now in urgent need of support to continue.

International Development Minister Jenny Gilruth said:

“The world saw the devastation caused by the explosion in Beirut which led to death, injury and widespread homelessness in the city.

“Some of those most affected by the shocking event are the most vulnerable, with many children now homeless and refugee communities and migrant workers hardest hit. Homes and businesses have been lost and lives changed forever, while the city still faces intense challenges more than a month after the explosion.

“When confronted with such an emergency, the Scottish Government will fulfil its role as a responsible and compassionate global citizen. This Humanitarian Emergency Fund aid will provide essential help to those who are in desperate need.”

The head of Christian Aid Scotland, Sally Foster-Fulton, said:

“Lebanon has been described as a country in pain.  Even before the explosion, half of the population were living below the poverty line.  We are hugely grateful to the Scottish Government for its support, which will allow us to reach out to many more vulnerable households through our local partner. 

“As a result of an emergency appeal to supporters, Christian Aid has already distributed thousands of hot meals and helped those whose homes were badly damaged in the blast - this additional funding will allow us to provide those people identified as most at risk with cash payments. We work through local partners who are familiar with the situation in Beirut and we’re confident we can help those most in need at this time, allowing them to buy food, medicine and essentials.”

UK Director of Independent Living for the British Red Cross, Marie Hayes said: 

“We are hugely grateful to the Scottish Government for their support for this unprecedented crisis facing the people of Beirut.  Many people are starting to move back to their damaged homes, trying to pick up the pieces.

“The Lebanese Red Cross has already supported more than 150,000 people and cash grants are a way of being able to support more people, faster, to help them start to rebuild. They give people control and dignity, and support the local economy - the people of Beirut face a long road to recovery, but with support like this we will continue to stand alongside them for as long as we are needed.”

Head of Tearfund Scotland, Graeme McMeekin, said:

"This funding will go a long way to help us respond to the devastating situation on the ground in Beirut. Not only will it help support vulnerable families with access to food and their urgent material needs, which is obviously crucial right now in this moment, but we also recognise that many young people will be traumatised in the longer term by what they have experienced, so we will be able to identify and refer those needing psychosocial support to help them recover."

Background

The Humanitarian Emergency Fund provides aid in the aftermath of a crisis. 

The HEF panel is made up of eight leading humanitarian aid organisations in Scotland who advise and access the fund: Mercy Corps, Oxfam, British Red Cross, Mission Aviation Fellowship, SCIAF, Christian Aid, Tearfund and Save the Children.

For further information on the work of the charities, you can read more online:

British Red Cross: https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/beirut-emergency-appeal  

Christian Aid: https://www.christianaid.org.uk/appeals/emergencies/lebanon-crisis-appeal

Tearfund: https://www.tearfund.org/en/latest/beirut_emergency_appeal/

Lebanon is a country of an estimated 5.9 million people with the highest per capita refugee population in the world – estimated at 30% of the population. Over 3.2 million people are considered in need of humanitarian protection assistance. Around 1.5 million Syrian refugees and 180,000 Palestinian refugees live in Lebanon.

The explosion in the port of Beirut added to a complex political and economic crisis in Lebanon, compounded by significant numbers of refugees and the rapid spread of COVID-19.