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WBU Message of solidarity with members in Lebanon

The World Blind Union is shocked by the tragic explosion in Beirut the capital city of Lebanon that killed dozens of people and injured thousands yesterday. According to media reports hundreds have been reported missing, raising fears that the death toll will rise. 

The WBU extends deepest sympathies to all members in Lebanon affected by catastrophic explosion.

As search and rescue efforts continue, the WBU is monitoring the crisis with deep concern and is appealing to the government, emergency responders and humanitarian agencies to consider special needs of persons with disabilities particularly the blind and partially sighted persons affected by the disaster. It is critical that blind and partially sighted persons be provided with accessible emergency services including information in audio, large print and braille formats. In addition, relief services such as health, rehabilitation and re-settlement services should be accessible.

The World Blind Union strongly advocates for the protection of the rights of blind and partially sighted persons in situations of disaster, humanitarian emergency or conflict, to ensure that all services and programs are accessible to them.

Response from WBU members in Lebanon

Dear WBU Officers and Members,

We, the Youth Association of the Blind in Lebanon (YAB) express our warm thanks to you on this expression of solidarity with us. The explosion was terrifying and horrible, and the results are disastrous. Till now, 135 persons killed, 79 missing persons and more than 4000 injured. There are more than 200,000 apartments and houses damaged either completely or partially or just window glasses and furniture in addition to cars, institutions, and hospitals. All this happened within a few seconds. 

Window glasses of YAB offices are damaged and the same at my house. My assistant at YAB Ms. Aya has significant wounds on her legs due to the broken glasses at her home. 

The real effects on us are the psychological effects that will take a long time to disappear.
Many thanks to WBU expression at this difficult time in Lebanon,

Amer Makarem, YAB Manager and WBU executive committee member, 5 August 2020