Lebanon: Beirut Port Explosions
On 4 August, a warehouse at the Beirut Port containing large quantities of ammonium nitrate exploded. After an initial explosion, a subsequent blast caused widespread damage around the port area. Over 180 people were killed and an additional 6,000 people were injured. Severe structural damage was reported at the port and surrounding commercial and residential neighbourhoods, leaving an estimated 300,000 without homes. COVID-19 cases have continued to rise following the explosions. The Beirut Port explosions occurred amid an ongoing economic crisis, worsening the security situation and socio-economic vulnerability of the population.
An ETS Coordinator deployed to Beirut on 11 August, following a request for ETS services by the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT). The ETS responded under a sector coordination approach, led by the Emergency Operation Cell (EOC).
Following initial assessments carried out with partners from 11-12 August, the ETS submitted a three-point response plan to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) Flash Appeal on 14 August. A second assessment of Beirut Port on 17 August confirmed that data connectivity had been re-established and ETS services were no longer required. The need for the provision of mobile data packages for the worst-affected communities was not confirmed by the humanitarian community and will therefore not go ahead. A Telecommunications Security Standards (TESS) team has deployed to Lebanon to conduct a country assessment of security telecommunications systems.
As ETS services were not required, the ETS operation in Lebanon was demobilized on 21 August. The Global ETC remains on standby to support future humanitarian activities in Lebanon, should the need arise.