Caritas helping after explosion in Lebanon

Published on 7th Sep, 2020

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is providing urgently needed funding for Lebanon following the massive explosion in the port of Beirut on Tuesday, 4 August, Caritas Director Juliette Hickey announced the day after the explosion.

The blast killed at least 100 people and injured more than 4,000 others. It registered as a 4.5 earthquake and was felt 150 miles away in the island of Cyprus. Windows were blown out of houses and buildings up to 15 miles from the port.

‘Before the explosion hospitals and doctors had been reporting shortages of vital medical supplies such as anaesthesia, medication and sutures. Amidst scenes of absolute devastation, Caritas will provide funding to help the Lebanese people in this hour of need,’ Mrs Hickey said.

At least four hospitals were affected. St George Hospital, one of the city’s largest, was so severely damaged it had to shut down and transfer patients to other hospitals outside of Beirut. Medical staff who survived the blast were treating patients on street sidewalks using flashlights to work because there was no electricity.

Thousands of families already facing difficult circumstances due to ongoing conflict, economic instability and the Covid-19 pandemic were affected in the explosion. Mrs Hickey said, ‘We need to show our solidarity with the poor and vulnerable in Beirut, who are facing so many urgent and severe challenges. We must do what we can to ensure they have the life-saving support they need.’

Caritas Lebanon’s youth volunteers and staff began assisting immediately onsite at hospitals, assisting the injured and dispatching a Rapid Response team. Although their offices were damaged, Caritas Lebanon remains committed to supporting vulnerable people in the aftermath of this tragic incident.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is sending a solidarity grant from their Peace in the Middle East fund. To contribute to the support for Lebanon, donate online at caritas.org.nz or by phone on 0800 22 10 22.

Published in WelCom September 2020

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