In 2020, starting from the pandemic to the recent explosion in Beirut, this year had witnessed several natural and man-made disasters. The Australian bushfire; cyclone Amphan and the monsoon flooding in India and Bangladesh; locust swarms in East Africa & parts of India and Asia; Earthquake in Turkey, Caribbean, China, Iran, Russia, Philippines & India and so on. But out of all the disasters ‘Beirut Explosion’ is one of the deadliest catastrophes that has left Beirut city at a standstill causing severe destruction and damage to half of the capital, resulting in a state of emergency.
It is one of the massive explosions that has taken place and is considered a man-made disaster as it has caused because of the mismanagement of some hazardous substances at a warehouse near the port of Beirut. Not only financial a political crisis is going on in Lebanon so people are furious over the system for the negligence.
The hospitals were also overcrowded with patients due to the recent spike of coronavirus cases. So, the incident on 4th August further escalated the crisis as we have seen in social media how injured patients of the blast gathered in the hospitals which were already dysfunctional due to the blast.
When the giant mushroom cloud rose above the city from the blast, it left the country’s capital in a devastating state with more than 176 people dead and missing. About six thousand people were injured. The tragedy in Beirut has partially and fully damaged the homes of nearly 300,000 residents. It affected the people of Beirut both physically and mentally and it will take time for children as well as elderly people to overcome the trauma and loss.
Lebanon hosts the world’s largest share of refugees and more than 900,000 registered from Syria and other countries, the majority of them are Syrians and Palestinians. They are helpless and living a miserable life in many parts of the world.
The sudden crisis has also affected the refugees of Syria and Palestine who are the most vulnerable people in the country. The number of Syrian refugees killed in the explosion is 43. Ahmed Staifi a Syrian refugee, a father of four children, fled the bombing of Syria only to have a secure life but his dreams will remain unfulfilled as the explosion took away his wife and two children (Reuters, 2020).
Over 1.5 million Syrian and Palestinian refugees will suffer from the disastrous impact of this crisis. Their life is miserable as more than half of the Palestinian refugees are unemployed and over two-thirds of Syrian refugees live under the poverty line, so the aftermath of this disaster will further imperil the refugees who are high and dry. Many people in Beirut are homeless and it had drenched the city life in darkness. It is uncertain how the government will rehabilitate and reconstruct as it will cost a huge sum of money to reconstruct the damage.
As a result, in recent times the Lebanese government had already sought to send the refugees back in their home countries despite the dangers. Beirut port being considered as one of the main logistical hubs, the U.N., and other aid organizations sent supplies to Syria through this. So now, the explosion may cause more suffering to eleven million people who are dependent on foreign aid due to the economic degradation of Lebanon. Moreover, the aid pipeline to Syria is disrupted so humanitarians are struggling to find ways to continue providing aid to Syrian refugees post the crisis. Lebanon’s caretaker government reports that as of Aug 31 around 200 people died in the blast and more than 6,500 were injured, and three remain missing. The death toll includes 46 Syrian refugees and at least a dozen more were migrant workers from countries including Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Ghana.
UNHCR officials have said that this catastrophe has affected communities regardless of their nationality or status. So, considering the indiscriminate nature of the destruction they are mobilizing resources and aid to where they are most needed and will deploy US$35 million for its emergency response to the most vulnerable Lebanese, refugee and migrant households considering the need of mass people over the coming days.
The explosion has drawn a lot of attention to what was going on in the country and got massive attention from all over the world and the focus is on the political and financial crisis led by the corruption and mismanagement by the government and authority going on for many years. But the cost was too high and so many people had to give their lives. Many compared it to the Chernobyl, an apocalyptic incident that exposed the inescapable failure caused by incompetence and negligence of the government.
Read: Beirut Blast Death Toll Includes a Dozen Refugees
Read: Refugees in Lebanon Proposes to Give Their Houses to Beirut Explosion Victims