Already in the middle of an economic crisis before the explosion, which left at least 154 people dead, 5,000 injured and 300,000 homeless, the World Food Programme said the damage to Beirut's port would interrupt food supplies and push prices up.
The World Health Organization said the health system was seriously damaged, with three hospitals out of action. Christian Lindmeier of the WHO warned that Lebanon's hospitals were overwhelmed with the patients, some were damaged and some non-functional, and that 500 beds had been lost. The WHO has delivered emergency trauma and surgical supply kits containing essential medicines and medical supplies, and is calling for £11.5m to cover immediate needs and ensure continuity in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Perhaps it is a timely moment for Americans to consider their nation's withdrawal from that UN agency.)
Lebanon which was also seeing a rise in cases of the coronavirus disease but 17 containers of masks, gowns and gloves, shipped to Beirut by the WHO, had been completely destroyed
Before Tuesday's explosion, 75% of Lebanese were in need of aid, 33% had lost their jobs, and one million people were living below the poverty line.
The WFP was immediately dispatching 5,000 food parcels that would be enough to feed a family of five for a month, and was planning to import wheat flour and grains.