COVID-19 and the expanding role of international urban search and rescue (USAR) teams: the case of the 2020 Beirut explosions

Yosuke Okita, Steve Glassey, Rajib Shaw
2022 Journal of International Humanitarian Action  
AbstractThe paper conducts a case study on the international urban search and rescue (USAR) response to the Beirut explosions in August 2020. The incident is worth analysing because it was the first of the international USAR deployments under global travel restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will closely look at the activity of @fire Germany, which is self-recognised as a light USAR team, deployed to Beirut. Due to the arrangements imposed for COVID-19 prevention, it becomes
more » ... difficult for international USAR teams to arrive in affected areas quickly, meaning that the possibility for life-saving further decreases. Thus, international USAR teams must be flexible to contribute to early recovery activity after the completion of the search and rescue phase. The @fire Germany's response gives a good example of how light international USAR teams could contribute to early recovery. Also, some countries might not want to receive or send international USAR teams due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the COVID-19 era, strengthening national and local teams, or first responders, who are already in-country becomes critical to saving more lives.
doi:10.1186/s41018-022-00116-z fatcat:qxr6a3kyqzc3fe6e63gvqd47rm