How your contributions are being used by the Lebanese Red Cross to respond to the COVID19 crisis
“The Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) has received so many donations since the beginning of this Coronavirus crisis! How will they use all of these funds? Why would they need more?”
These are questions that we have been hearing a lot, from friends and family, on social media channels, and over traditional media. They are valid questions and we firmly believe in the need for our organization to be extremely transparent with the public, even or especially during times of crisis. LRC’s main asset, its main strength, is the trust of the public, and we will always do our best to live up to this trust.
We will answer this question in three parts. First, we will explain what donations the LRC has actually received to date. Second, we will list what the main needs are in relation to this crisis, and finally we will describe how LRC has used the donations so far.
1. What LRC has actually received to date
Since the 1st of March 2020, and until the 8th of April 2020, LRC has received the following direct contributions:
Note: this includes only contributions that have actually been delivered to LRC accounts. Further committed contributions will be added as LRC receives them.
*LRC is working with the relevant banks and payment providers to include the possibility of payments in LBP on its online donations portal.
2. What the main needs are in relation to the crisis response
In a previous article named “Behind the Scenes of the Ambulance Service: what it really costs” (https://www.supportlrc.app/what-it-costs) we explained what some of the major costs of this national service are. We also explained the LRC has a major gap in its budget, due in part to the effective devaluation of the Lebanese Pound and to the fact that the government stopped paying its annual contribution (previously 10 million USD per year) since mid 2018, due to the economic crisis.
However, in this article we will focus only and exclusively on the principal need of LRC in relation to the COVID19 pandemic, which is to have enough Personal Protective Equipment to be able to protect the patients, the public and its own volunteers and staff.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in LRC is divided into 3 categories:
- Basic PPE: which we use on every single mission, regardless of what the situation is. This includes gloves and, when needed, regular masks. From today till the end of this crisis, LRC ambulance teams are no longer using the basic level of PPE.
- Intermediate PPE: which we use when responding to patients with communicable diseases and which includes: special high-risk gloves, a more advanced mask called N95, protective glasses, and a protective disposable gown. This level is now used for every single one of the 15,000 ambulance missions that LRC does per month, except those needing the advanced level.
- Advanced PPE: the highest level of protection that we use. You can see what it consists of in the picture below.. This is used for every suspected or confirmed COVID19 case.
LRC already had a stock of PPE from 2014. This was established based on contingency planning at the time, when LRC was tasked with transporting suspected Ebola cases. This stock, as well as the training and planning, allowed LRC to respond to this crisis from day 1. The budget that is described below is a planning tool that will be constantly tweaked as we get more information and as the situation evolves. We HAVE to anticipate to be able to continue our response without any interruptions.
To prepare our response budget, here are the assumptions that we have made:
- LRC will have to respond to this crisis for at least 3 months
- LRC will continue providing approximately 15,000 ambulance missions per month
- LRC will transport around 1500 high risk patients per month (confirmed or suspected)
Based on these assumptions, the below two tables list how many of each item we need for Intermediate and Advanced level PPE, and what the estimated costs are based on 8th of April 2020 prices. We urge the reader to keep in mind that prices for these items are varying on a daily basis and also based on the actual LBP to USD exchange rate.
Therefore, the total needs, ONLY for PPE to cover 3 months of response under those assumptions, is 4.94 million USD. This does NOT include fuel, ambulance maintenance, training, uniforms, decontamination supplies or any of the other operational costs of LRC.
We chose to focus on PPE only and to provide detailed breakdowns so that the most immediate and critical needs are crystal clear to anyone who reads this article.
3. How the LRC has used the donations so far
Given the shortage of these items on the market due to the global nature of the crisis and the sudden and very high demand, LRC is placing orders for PPE with various suppliers according to availability.
Until the 25th of March 2020, and using the donations received to date, LRC already placed orders for Intermediate and Advanced PPE for a total value of 850,000 USD. During the coming week, LRC will place further orders to ensure that we are able to continue our response while protecting the public, our patients and our volunteers.
We thank each and every one of you who has generously contributed to the LRC during this crisis, and we will strive to communicate transparently with you over the coming weeks about what we have received, what we need and how we are using the funds that we receive.
Your trust in us is invaluable and we will do whatever is in our power to live up to it.
Please remember that every contribution to the Lebanese Red Cross, no matter how small, makes a difference in our ability to respond to this crisis and to save lives and alleviate suffering. It is only with YOUR support that we will be able to continue our humanitarian mission and our tradition of being next to those who need us, regardless of the difficulties and challenges.
For more information or if you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org