When the port of Beirut exploded, it could be felt almost 300 kilometres away, DanChurchAid (DCA)reports. The fierce explosion had caused more than 220 deaths, 7.000 injuries, and has made 300.000 people homeless overnight.
A land on its knees is now facing another massive challenge. Many have lost their nearest and are living in chaos. Without food, water or a roof over their head. Even though the dust from the explosion has settled, thousands of people are now facing an uncertain future. Therefore, DanChurchAid is delivering aid to the people most affected by the disaster.
People are looking to the church
DCA is present in Beirut along with sister organisations from Sweden and Norway. Through local and international partners we are providing shelter, blankets, food, hygiene-kits, psychosocial aid and money to cover the most basic needs. When a catastrophe hits, many people look towards the church. That is also the case in Beirut, where our faith-based partners are part of the effort to provide the aid so many people are in dire need of at the moment. Because it is not just people’s homes that have been destroyed. It is also medical centres, hospitals, schools, and large corn-silos. An estimated 85 percent of Lebanon’s corn-stock was blown up by the explosion. In other words, people’s lives have gone up in smoke from one moment to another. And right now, a helping hand could mean the difference between life and death.
Disaster couldn't come at a worse time
This disaster could not come at a worse time, says World Vision’s national director in Lebanon, Hans Bederski. “Lebanon is in the middle of an economic crisis and has also seen the rate of COVID-19 infections drastically increase over the past few weeks.” World Vision teams are on the ground assesing the needs of the most vulnerable children. Initially, they plan to reach 120.000 people by providing:
- Temporary shelter to families whose homes have been damaged
- Food, hygiene and household supplies for families who are now homeless or staying in shelters
- Psychological First Aid to help children and families affected by the explosion
World Vision has been working in Lebanon since the onset of the civil war in Lebanon in 1975 and continues to assist Lebanese families in addition to refugee communities through emergency relief, development projects, as well as advocacy.
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Refugees have struggled for a long time
“This is yet another tragedy for a country that is already deep in crisis on multiple fronts. The economy is the worst it has been in decades, with nearly half the population living below the poverty line and 35% of people out of work. Many of Lebanon’s population are refugees who have struggled for a long time. But now even middle class families have been fighting to put food on the table”, says Nidal Ali, Country Director of Islamic Relief Lebanon.
Affected families are in dire need of food assistance, water and shelter. Islamic Relief’s initial response will focus on distributing food, essential hygiene kits and health assistance to those currently sheltering in communal buildings such as schools, mosques and churches, who are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.