In the past two days, more than 100 wildfires broke out in different areas in Lebanon, these fires that were successfully put out after the intervention of many local and some international efforts left the country in a state of emergency and hundreds of people in a critical condition.
In accordance, Minister of Public Health Dr. Jamil Jabak, who is currently partaking in the sixty-sixth session of the WHO Regional Committee in Tehran, has instructed all hospitals in Lebanon to receive health-affected cases and provide them with health care, at the ministry's expenses 100%.
In addition to that, the Office of the Minister of Public Health coordinated with a number of medical supplies' companies for them to provide supplies, including primary relief materials, to the ambulance teams on the ground, the civil defense centers, the primary health care centers, and health NGOs.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Public Health reminded citizens how to avoid the risk of fire smoke based on the following:
- Stay indoors, with doors and windows tightly closed.
- Turn on the air conditioner on the "Recirculation" setting. Change or clean the filter if necessary.
- To reduce or prevent indoor air pollution sources, such as smoking, wood stoves, lighting candles, incense, frying or grilling foods, use a vacuum cleaner.
- Do not run gasoline generators indoors because they produce dangerous carbon monoxide.
- When riding the car, close the windows and vents, turn on the air conditioning button on "Recycling."
The wildfires that have spread across the country since Monday have caused many injuries, as per The Lebanese Red Cross, "between Monday night and Tuesday morning." The Red Cross teams gave first aid in field hospitals to close to 100 affected people. Some were hospitalized while others were suffering from respiratory distress and minor burns.
As of Oct 15th, 18 people were hospitalized through Lebanon’s Red Cross and 88 received emergency medical care. Moreover, the Civil Defense Director General Gen. Raymond Khattar stated that "there are five minor injuries among Civil Defense volunteers, due to the fires and land mine explosions [...]." However, the total number of injured hasn't been declared yet.
Regretfully, a citizen died from suffocation during his volunteering to help extinguish blazing flames for several hours, and a woman also lost her life after being run over by a fire truck in the southern coastal city of Sidon.
The Ministry of Public Health provided the public, and through its official website, a list of safety tips, asking to contact the Ministry of Public Health - Preventive Medicine Department, for any inquiries or needed help, at the following numbers: 01/830 300 ext: 435-436-437-440 or call the hotline 1214.