Physiopedia Response to Beirut Explosion | Our Commitment to Aid The Recovery

At 6pm on August the 4th 2020 one of the largest non-nuclear blasts to ever take place shook Beirut to its core. As the initial recovery efforts take place the physical toll for those affect will be felt for years to come. Physiotherapy will play a part in rehabilitating the traumatic injuries sustained in this devastating attack. Physiopedia is committed to helping with the efforts.

After news of the explosion travelled around the world the Physiopedia Team contacted Humanity & Inclusion and the International Committee of the Red Cross to see how we could help. Together as a result of their learning from being in the region, they highlighted a need to provide physiotherapists in Lebanon with up-to-date educational content to be able to effectively provide rehabilitation for the injuries sustained in the devastating blast. The physical injuries reported so far are varied in impact and severity and include upper limb injuries, traumatic facial injuries, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and severe poly-trauma.

Physiotherapy in Lebanon – Key Facts

  • World Physiotherapy Member Organisation since 1991
  • 1,247 Practicing Physiotherapists
  • 1.82 Physiotherapists per 10,000 people
  • A medical prescription is required prior to seeing a physiotherapist
  • Physiotherapists are unable to provide telehealth services

The Physiopedia Team has worked with speed and intent alongside our expert topic specialists to produce content specifically for the Lebanon response. This includes hand injury and facial trauma courses. These courses will be packaged together along with our TBI and SCI courses to ensure the clinicians in Lebanon have the content and knowledge they need to help the community.

A Night of Horror

As it stands 5000 people have been wounded and over 135 people have lost their lives. The Guardian UK has produced an interactive timeline which shows the extent of the damage and horror endured by the people of Beirut.

The port in Beirut (featured image at the top of the post) has been totally annihilated due to the cataclysmic ammonia blast. The video below explains what we know about the blast so far.

Over 100,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed by the blast and to further increase the urgency of the aid efforts the countries only grain silo was destroyed in the blast. And as if that wasn’t devastating enough shipping containers loaded with thousands of pieces of PPE being imported to combat coronavirus was also destroyed.

Free Education for Our Colleagues in Lebanon

Free access to physios via a partnership with the Lebanese Member Association, and students at the universities are available. All HI and ICRC staff already have access to Physioplus as part of our commitment to improve global health through universal access to physiotherapy knowledge. We endeavour to continue to aid the response wherever we can and this includes creation of more courses which will be available soon.

Wendy Walker is a neurological physiotherapist, specialising in Facial Palsy, Peripheral Nerve Injuries and Neurology and Complex Conditions. She has created a facial injuriescourse which will give our colleages the skills required to treat common types of facial injuries and to highlight the role of physiotherapists in restoring facial function.

Hand injuries are incredibly common in trauma and specifically blast trauma. Kate Thorn, a hand therapist who is committed to providing and teaching high-quality evidence-based hand therapy, has created two additional courses which will help those with hand injuries. Her flexor tendon and extensor tendon injury management courses will later be joined by Megan Blakeway’s courses expanding the hand rehab offering.

Access to the spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury courses is also available for free for our colleagues in Lebanon too.

The Physiopedia Team have also committed the month to updating and creating pages related to the hand. High quality pages have been created and edited ensuring the teams in Lebanon to have access to the most up to date resources available. Examples of the pages include:

This is just a brief list of all the pages that were created and reviewed this month.  Browse through the hand category to see all of the pages related to the hand.

The physical and emotional consequences of this disaster are going to be felt for many years to come. Even though the Physiopedia Team can’t be in Beirut helping out in person with the response, we will try wherever we can to help. If you want to help with our response please get in touch