CAIRO (Reuters) – The World Health Organisation (WHO) is appealing for $15 million to cover emergency health needs in Lebanon following the Beirut port explosion that hit amid an economic crisis and rising coronavirus cases.
The blast, which killed more than 150 and injured more than 5,000, also destroyed 17 containers holding WHO medical supplies including personal protective equipment, the agency’s regional office for the Middle East said in a statement late on Thursday.
Five hospitals in the area affected by Tuesday’s blast are either not functioning or partially functioning, and early reports indicate that many health centres and primary care facilities are also damaged or out of action, it said.
Up to 300,000 people have been displaced from their homes and need food or shelter, which “also risks accelerating the spread of COVID-19 and the outbreak of other diseases,” said Iman Shankiti, WHO Representative to Lebanon.
The WHO said that, together with the American University of Beirut, it was planning an environmental assessment on the impact of the fumes caused by the explosion of ammonium nitrate.
(Reporting by Aidan Lewis; editing by John Stonestreet)