Two explosions erupted in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, sending shockwaves across the city and beyond. Lebanese homes, businesses, and complete city blocks were destroyed. Thousands of people were injured requiring immediate care.
Beirut is a publishing, cultural, medical and educational center. It houses some of the best-known schools, universities, and hospitals, and is a popular tourist and entertainment destination. Now many of its established institutions are reeling from a new round of damage.
Hospitals, which are already overwhelmed with the rising Covid-19 cases, are now dealing with mass casualties despite the economic crisis and limited resources. The death toll is currently at 200, 6,000 have been injured and 350,000 lost their homes. According to UNICEF 100,000 children whose homes were damaged had to flee Beirut, whereas 120 schools serving 55,000 children are severely damaged with 15 schools destroyed.
HELP US 2 HELP
Establishing Relief Hubs in
Beirut’s Destroyed Neighborhoods
As an initial response to this catastrophic event our NGO, Design for Communities (D4C), has launched the initiative “Help to Help Beirut” for establishing Relief Hubs in Beirut’s destroyed neighborhoods. We are setting up versatile relief hubs, in damaged buildings, to immediately serve the most vulnerable from the affected neighborhoods, their children, their families and the elderly.
With our firm belief that the quality of spaces is crucial for the healing process, our aim is to provide healthy, secure, and sustainable environments for multipurpose use and activities. The Relief hubs would house informal learning and play, psychotherapy and group therapy, food donations etc.
With an action-oriented design methodology and a participatory approach, we first survey actual needs and assess how our involvement impacts the community towards sustainable development. We work hand in hand with different stakeholders such as humanitarian agencies, NGOs and local authorities providing innovative and recyclable design solutions for community-based projects. Our team comprises young talented architects and engineers, and in partnership with universities we also engage students in our projects.
Volunteers at D4C have already identified several areas and locations for potential and projected interventions in neighborhoods around the port. Today, we have established agreements with shop-owners, relief hubs (construction phase), and a school where we are designing and implementing, with several projects on their way.