A meeting was held on Friday, October 2, 2020 at the headquarters of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) in the presence of the MECC team with Honorary Secretary General Dr. Souraya Bechealany and the Tearfund committee director of Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen Karen Soerensen along with the regional director of the Middle East, Martin Leacm.
The meeting took place to finalize the details and to set a starting date for an emergency humanitarian project between both partners.
The Tearfund association has been working with the MECC since 2018. Since the port explosion on August 4, the MECC has responded by providing ‘in-kind’ food and non-food assistance as well as medical supplies to vulnerable households affected by the blast and to all the injured. Consequently, Tearfund will be working with MECC to transition from the initial ‘in-kind’ support to cash assistance, in response to feedback from needs assessments, which indicates an overwhelming beneficiary preference for cash to support transition towards recovery; and towards reconstruction and restoration.
The proposed project impact area will be Bourj Hammoud considering that approximately 40 per cent of the houses received mild to moderate damage from the blast. However, as opposed to some other affected areas in Beirut, households in Bourj Hammoud have been relatively underserved in the response and were already vulnerable prior to the explosion, taking into account the poverty and financial difficulties the area has already been undergoing.
Tearfund and the MECC will therefore provide unconditional cash distributions to the most vulnerable households in the area where food and shelter were identified as their top priorities.