Following the explosion in the port of Beirut, which claimed over one hundred lives, injured thousands of people and destroyed or rendered uninhabitable a large number of buildings, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has sent a team of specialists to the city to provide emergency assistance. A team comprising members of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) and a security specialist from the Crisis Management Centre (KMZ) is currently en route to Beirut. The team includes engineers and infrastructure specialists, logistics experts, a telecommunications specialist and a psychologist. One of their tasks will be to assess the structural integrity of buildings. The blast also caused serious damage to the Swiss embassy and the Swiss ambassador's residence. The Swiss team will also assist the Lebanese authorities in assessing the structural integrity of public buildings such as schools and hospitals.
Switzerland is contributing CHF 500,000 to the Lebanese Red Cross for emergency assistance for the local population. SHA personnel will also carry out an on-site assessment of the situation to determine what additional support Switzerland can provide. If requested by the Lebanese authorities, this could include construction and structural engineering assistance as well as the provision of shelter and medical supplies, medical care and support for local medical staff.
The Swiss embassy in Beirut is still working to establish whether Swiss nationals are among the victims of the explosion on 4 August 2020. There are no indications of any Swiss victims to date.
Address for enquiries:
Federal Palace West Wing
CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
Tel.: +41 58 462 31 53