Emergency Medical Airlift Arrives in Lebanon in Wake of Explosion

FedEx and Direct Relief Team Up to Deliver More than $11 Million Worth of Critical Medical Resources


Beirut Explosion

Photo: FedEx

More than 60 tons of critical aid from Direct Relief will soon offer needed relief to medical personnel in Beirut, Lebanon.

FedEx transported the supplies via a donated charter flight to help health facilities responding after a deadly explosion ripped through the city earlier this month, killing 178 people, injuring thousands and putting significant strain on the medical system.

The Direct Relief airlift was made possible through the FedEx Cares “Delivering for Good” initiative, where FedEx lends its global network and unparalleled logistics expertise to help organizations with mission-critical needs in times of disaster, as well as through partnerships with Anera and The American Task Force for Lebanon.

The medical resources contained in the airlift will enable hospitals, clinics, and primary care centers to replenish inventories of critically needed medicines and supplies were destroyed in the blast or depleted in the explosion’s wake.

Items include cardiovascular, diabetes, neurology, respiratory and ophthalmology medications, as well as roughly 200,000 N-95 masks and tens of thousands of exam gloves, protective coveralls, and wound care supplies.

California to Lebanon

FedEx picked up $11 million worth of medicines, medical supplies and personal protective equipment from Direct Relief headquarters in Santa Barbara, California, and trucked the load to Memphis.

Late Saturday, Aug. 22, FedEx loaded those supplies onto a FedEx Express Boeing 777 at the FedEx World Hub. The flight landed at noon in Luxembourg Sunday, Aug. 23, where FedEx worked with Cargolux, which also donated its services, to transport the supplies into Beirut.

“FedEx has catalyzed and made possible a huge boost of urgently needed assistance to people in Beirut by providing its world-class team, logistics expertise and aircraft,” said Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe. “Direct Relief and the many partners with which we’re working to help, including the American Task Force on Lebanon, are profoundly grateful for FedEx once again providing just an extraordinary example of leadership and action to assist people slammed by a humanitarian crisis.”

Arrival in Lebanon

The supplies arrived early Monday in Beirut with Direct Relief’s longtime partner in the region, Anera, for distribution to hospitals and clinics throughout the affected area.

Recipients were selected by Direct Relief for the critical functions they serve in responding to the explosion, and include Rafik Hariri University Hospital, the Lebanese American University Medical Center, American University of Beirut Hospital, Hotel Dieu de France.

Lebanon was experiencing a chronic lack of medicines and medical supplies prior to the explosion, and healthcare resources were being stretched by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The blast compounded the severe strain on the nation’s healthcare system.

Six major hospitals and 20 clinics suffered damage and, according to UNOCHA, the blast rendered half of all medical facilities within 9.3 miles either inoperable or partially operable.

“We’ve seen the devastation from the explosion and know people are still in desperate need of help. On behalf of our 500,000 FedEx team members, we are proud to be able to use our global network to provide these lifesaving resources,” said Richard Smith, executive vice president, Global Support, FedEx Express. “We are inspired by Direct Relief’s commitment to making a difference in the lives of others and we are honored to work alongside this incredible organization.”

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