WHO seeking $76m for Lebanon after Beirut blast, concerned about coronavirus

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A helicopter puts out a fire at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanons capital Beirut.
A helicopter puts out a fire at the scene of an explosion at the port of Lebanons capital Beirut.
STR / AFP

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday it had appealed for $76 million in aid for Lebanon after last week's massive explosion in Beirut destroyed or damaged hospitals, clinics and medical supplies.

Lebanon was already struggling with a financial crisis and a rise in the number of new coronavirus cases before the 4 August explosion in the capital's port area that left at least 171 dead and injured some 6 000.

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun said the blast caused about $15 billion in damage.

The blast put three hospitals out of operation and has left three others working at partial capacity, reducing the number of beds in public and private hospitals by 500-600, WHO officials told an online press conference.

"A week after the blast, the World Health Organization is still concerned about the health and wellbeing of people who were injured, lost loved ones, or became homeless, and it's expected (that) recovery from the psychological pain from the blast will last much longer," said Rana Hajjeh, WHO's regional programme director.

"In particular, we are concerned about the return of Covid-19 in Lebanon. We have launched an appeal for $76 million, and ask the international community to support the Lebanese people and show solidarity with them in every way possible."

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