Disasters & Accidents

UN warns of huge damage to education, health and Covid response in Lebanon

By Antonio Broto

Geneva, Aug 7 (efe-epa).- The explosion in Beirut’s port has damaged 120 schools in the area, affected five hospitals and destroyed much of the humanitarian aid sent to help with the coronavirus pandemic, United Nations agencies reported on Friday.

World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman Christian Lindmeier said at a press conference in Geneva that all activity has been disrupted in three Beirut hospitals and partially affected in two others, reducing the city’s medical facilities by 500 beds.

The blast, which killed more than 150 and injured more than 5,000, also destroyed 17 containers of medical aid sent in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, which contained protective equipment and other basic materials.

This loss will hamper the work of Lebanon’s health service which has been overwhelmed by the large number of injured people following the incident.

The WHO has appealed for $15 million to respond to the emergency and continue to tackle the Covid crisis in the country.

Lindmeier said: “The already weak health system in Lebanon due to the refugee crisis, to Covid, the economic and political crisis and the lack of personal protective equipment for health workers is a huge issue.”

Marixie Mercado, Unicef spokeswoman, said at the same press conference that the explosion has damaged 120 schools in Beirut and surrounding areas, affecting 55,000 children.

Between 80,000 and 100,000 children have also lost their homes, she added.

She warned that many of the affected areas had outbreaks of Covid-19 before the tragedy and that in recent days record numbers of coronavirus infections have been recorded in Lebanon.

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