23 OCTOBER 2020

MSC Foundation again in front line of international emergency relief efforts

On the 4th of August 2020, an explosion rocked the Beirut Port area. Erupting from inside a warehouse where more than 2,750 tons of Ammonium Nitrate had been stored for over 6 years , it caused unprecedented damage to the city. The shock wave burst from the blast zone on Beirut’s industrial waterfront and tore through the city’s densely populated residential neighbourhoods and central districts, leaving more than 200 people dead, 6,000 injured and over 300,000 displaced. Thousands of buildings, including grain silos, were destroyed.

The MSC Foundation responded immediately. Recognising that restoring the port to operation was crucial to channelling relief and foodstuffs directly into the city, we lend for free 14 containers to the Lebanese Port Authority, 10 for use as offices in place of those destroyed and 4 for use as storage units for spare parts..

Having simultaneously launched a rapid needs and priorities assessment to select the most suitable local partner, the Foundation soon identified the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) as the organisation best prepared to handle the logistics and distribution of substantial relief aid. Partnering with them to provide a full spectrum of urgently-needed medical supplies, we arranged to deliver approximately 13,000 items, including 500 hygiene kits for families and 1,000 psychosocial support and education kits for children, adolescents and youths. 

The medical supplies will be shipping from Genoa in late October, to be followed by the hygiene and psychosocial kits in early November, in each case taking around 7 days to reach Beirut.

In addition, the MSC Foundation is also joining hands with the Geneva-based organisations supporting relief efforts in Beirut under the leadership of the Swiss non-profit organisation Xpatria, providing free shipping and support for the delivery of 930 boxes of clothes, school, hygiene and medical items and powdered milk for children.

This immediate action firstly to help restore port operation and then to provide over USD 200,000 of vital medical, hygiene and psychosocial support to the people of Beirut provides a further striking example of how the MSC Foundation is able to take uniquely prompt, decisive and effective action working in coordination with MSC Group companies.