The blast in Beirut: four months on

In August 2020, a huge explosion devastated large areas of the city of Beirut. Four months on, the recovery operation continues


Last updated 4 August 2023

It has now been four months since a massive explosion shook the city of Beirut.

Homes and hospitals were destroyed in the wake of the blast and 300,000 people were left homeless.

Lebanon was already coping with multiple crises when the explosion happened.

In the immediate aftermath, the Lebanese Red Cross operated search and rescue efforts, set up an appeal for blood donations, and performed first aid and triage on critical and non-critical injuries.

Four months on, the Lebanese Red Cross is still continuing to respond amidst the economic crisis, while also acting as the country’s lead responder to the pandemic.

The Red Cross response in Beirut

Since August, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has supported over 285,000 people through medical provisions, blood donations, cash assistance, shelter, food parcels and essentials for babies and children.

Hospitals and healthcare facilities are over-crowded and exhausted, and the Lebanese Red Cross is providing emergency medical services, primary and mental healthcare to those affected by the explosion.

The Lebanese Red Cross is continuing to run medical and blood donation centres in order to support the hospitals that are operating at full capacity. So far, more than 13,000 units of blood have been distributed, along with deliveries of medical supplies and medicine.

Since the explosion the ambulance service has made over 44,000 missions, including transporting more than 5,000 patients suffering with coronavirus.

A helpline that was set up to offer support has received more than 42,000 calls. Almost 9,500 vulnerable households have been reached with emergency cash assistance for essentials like food and medicine, and that support is ongoing.

Generous support from funds raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery has helped the Lebanese Red Cross to support the recovery following the explosion. Families most affected by the coronavirus pandemic across Lebanon have been provided with cash grants to enable them to buy essential items such as food and medicine.

The long road to recovery

It is estimated that Lebanon’s economic loss is set to reach up to $15 billion (around £11 billion). But much of the damage that has been done won’t be visible on the surface. Along with the physical injuries and financial losses, many people are suffering from trauma.

Families have been separated and friends made homeless. Trained Red Cross volunteers have provided over 6,000 people with psychosocial support to help them cope, and they continue to deliver that support remotely.

The road to recovery was always going to a be a long and difficult one. It is an effort that will take months, if not years. The British Red Cross is committed to supporting the Lebanese Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross in their response efforts. 


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