A plane carrying 20 tonnes of World Health Organisation health supplies has landed in Beirut, Lebanon, to support the treatment of patients injured by the massive blast that occurred in the city earlier this week.

The supplies will cover 1,000 trauma and surgical interventions each for people suffering from injuries and burns resulting from the blast, a note from the WHO said.

The shipment was airlifted from WHO’s logistics hub in Dubai earlier this afternoon using a plane donated by the Government of the United Arab Emirates, a WHO partner in health emergency response.

“ We are working closely with national health authorities, health partners and hospitals treating the wounded to identify additional needs and ensure immediate support,” said WHO Representative in Lebanon Dr Iman Shankiti.

The blast resulted in three hospitals in Beirut now becoming non-functional and two hospitals being partially damaged, leaving a critical gap in hospital bed capacity. Injured patients are being transferred to hospitals across the country, as far as south Saida and north Tripoli, and many facilities are overwhelmed. WHO will distribute the supplies to priority hospitals across Lebanon receiving and treating injured patients, the note said.

This latest emergency comes in the context of recent civil unrest, a major economic crisis, Covid-19 outbreak and heavy refugee burden. The legendary resilience of the Lebanese people has rarely been so severely tested. Ensuring that there is continuity of the response to Covid-19 – including targeting the most vulnerable for assistance – is a priority for both the Ministry of Public Health and WHO, the note added.