Lebanon Crisis Appeal
As you will have seen on the news on the 4th of August, a massive explosion occurred in Beirut port in Lebanon. The cause remains unclear, but it seems to be linked
to a 2,750-tonne cache of ammonium nitrate stored at the blast site.
Rescue operations are underway, however at present at least 157 people have been killed and 5,000 injured. Across the city, neighbourhoods have been devastated by the blast, along with hospitals and crucial silos containing around 85% of the country’s grain, as well as medical supplies.
The Severity of the Crisis.
The shock wave affected an area within a more than 9km radius of the blast site in the Port of Beirut, leaving families out on the streets with no food, shelter, or emergency medical care. The most severely affected neighbourhoods include Karantina, Gemmayzeh, Achrafieh, Dawra and Bourj Hammoud. Buildings have been flattened to the ground, windows shattered, and doors knocked down. Approximately 300,000 people are now homeless.
In addition, many in the affected communities had already seen their livelihoods eroded and were suffering food insecurity. Since October 2019, the country has been suffering an economic crisis. With severe dollar shortages (an 80% devaluation of Lebanese Lira), inflation has skyrocketed, and access to basic goods has been severely restricted, with prices tripling in some weeks. For hospitals, this has meant reduced capacity and a shortage of supplies. Further, many hospitals were destroyed by the blast.
The Covid-19 pandemic has compounded the needs and vulnerabilities of communities, and the government has been unable to provide meaningful financial or material support to those in need. Prior to the explosion, the World Bank had predicted 53% of Lebanese to be in poverty in 2020 and at least 83% of the Syrian refugee population. These needs will be exacerbated in the aftermath of the explosion.
This explosion has made a very dire situation worse – with a growing number of Lebanese vulnerable to destitution – and could not have come at a worse time for the besieged country.
Christian Aid’s partners Basmeh & Zeitooneh and Mouvement Social are responding in the most affected areas and reaching those who were already vulnerable. Their response includes:
·Distribution of food, water, hygiene and disinfection materials
·Distribution of clothes, mattresses, and blankets
·Supporting affected households to access medicine and health services
·Mobilising volunteer groups in rubble removal in the most affected locations
·Referring families to temporary shelters and providing minor repair and rehabilitation for homes (carpentry, electricity, etc)
This is a time of desperation for the people of Lebanon who have already suffered so much over past decade. If you feel able to, please donate to the Lebanon Crisis Appeal and support Christian Aid to provide lifesaving emergency support now.
God, our refuge in times of trouble
we pray for our brothers and sisters in Beirut today.
Lord be with the emergency services as they battle to help the thousands injured.
Lord, hold those who have lost loved ones in the palm of your hand.
Lord, we pray your provision for poor and marginalised communities who face an even more uncertain future.
Lord, we pray for wisdom for leaders as they make difficult decisions.
Lord, open our hearts – may they be full of compassion for the suffering we see.
Stir us to action.
In the tragedy of loss,
we pray your comfort.
In the chaos and injury,
we pray your calm and divine healing.
In the devastation and the heartbreak,
we pray your peace.
We pray that in the despair that lies amid the rubble of the explosion
there will be glimmers of hope and life.