‘We are with you!’
Order of Malta responds to Beirut’s crisis
Cologne/Beirut, 10 August 2020
After the horror of last week’s explosion there is much to deal with: trauma, injuries, homelessness, food scarcity, covid issues and chronic illness not attended to.
The Order of Malta’s international relief service, Malteser International, is working closely with the Order’s Lebanese Association, with first responder assistance already in place. A first tranche of funds has been activated:
‘The funds will be used to purchase protective gear for responders as well as essential supplies such as plaster, splints and bandages to treat fractures and burns that cannot be attended to in the overwhelmed hospitals,’ says Clemens Mirbach, Malteser International’s Country Coordinator for Lebanon.
Two of the organisation’s mobile medical units have been mobilised to treat the wounded and distribute vital medicines. “Over 80 per cent of those who have come in for treatment were directly affected by the explosion. Many are traumatised,” says Raymond Tarabay, Partner Coordinator for Malteser International in Lebanon
On Friday a Malteser International team of emergency relief specialists arrived in Beirut, to provide support for medical care and humanitarian aid logistics for food, medicines, and hygiene items.
‘You are not alone’
200 volunteers from the Order of Malta are also helping to care for the most vulnerable survivors, clearing rubble and making homes habitable again. ‘A group of five volunteers can clean up around three apartments a day,’ explains Mirbach. ‘This is a meaningful contribution for the hundreds of thousands who are facing homelessness. Our message to the people is clear: You are not alone, we are with you!’
Initial assessments from relief teams have revealed the extent of damage to health infrastructure and the poor state of medical care in the city. ‘There is a worrying lack of medicines which could increase infections,’ says Oliver Hochedez, Malteser International’s Emergency Relief Coordinator. ‘Covid-19 is still here and the overall situation is dire. People who have survived the catastrophe are now facing life-threatening conditions. In addition to those with injuries and burns sustained in the blast, people with chronic illnesses are also in need of urgent care. However, their chances of receiving treatment in hospitals are particularly poor at present. For now, Covid-19 patients and those who sustained serious injuries from the explosion are priority,’ he says. ‘Many people have suffered trauma and remain in shock. There is a difficult road ahead.’