Thousands of Christian volunteers helping after Beirut blast

Thousands of Christian volunteers are clearing debris and delivering urgent aid to people in Beirut, following last week’s devastating explosion.

Medicine, clothes, blankets and food are in huge demand.

Monsignor Toufic Bou-Hadir, director of the Maronite Patriarchal Commission for Youth, is praising the efforts of the young Christian volunteers “amazing” response to what he calls “an apocalypse” which saw 300,000 families displaced.

Other help includes an emergency food package valued at 250,000 euros, which Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) rushed to Beirut on Wednesday – the day after the port-side explosion.

The ACN grant will target poor families worst affected by the blast.

ACN Lebanon expert Father Samer Nassif, said that the Christian zone of Beirut was “completely devastated.”

At least 10 churches were destroyed, hundreds of thousands have been left homeless and many others are suffering, with livelihoods “totally destroyed” by the blast.

Bou-Hadir says “in one second, more damage to the Christian quarter of Beirut was done than throughout the long years of the civil war.”

“We have to build it again from the ground up.”

Pope Francis is among those who have sent cash donations to the devastated Lebanese capital.

He has donated 250,000 euros in aid to the Church in Lebanon to help with recovery efforts.

“This donation is intended as a sign of His Holiness’s attention and closeness to the affected population and of his fatherly closeness to people in serious difficulty,” the Vatican says.

Francis’ donation will go to the apostolic nunciature of Beirut “to meet the needs of the Lebanese Church in these moments of difficulty and suffering,” according to the Vatican.

Church leaders have warned both Beirut and the nation of Lebanon on are on the brink of total collapse. They are pleading with the international community for aid.

Both Bou-Hadir and fellow Beirut ACN project partner Sister Hanan Youssef are highlighting the toll of the explosion on the people, saying they are totally dependent on international aid as Lebanon’s economic crisis had rendered the country helpless.

“I survived 15 years of civil war and yet I could not imagine such a horrible thing happening to our people,” Hanan says.

“More than ever, the people are in need of help. We are so grateful for the prayers and support of our dear friends at ACN.”

After the long-running economic crisis and the coronavirus, Lebanon is ill-equipped to deal with the emergency. It urgently needs international help for people’s basic needs.

In “An Appeal to the Countries of the World” sent last week, Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, President of the Conference of Patriarchs and Catholic Bishops of Lebanon, said: “Beirut is a devastated city.”

“Beirut, the fiancée of the East and the beacon of the West, is wounded.”

“It’s a war scene – there is destruction and desolation in all its streets, its districts and its houses.”

The Pope and ACN are asking all to pray for the victims, their families and for the Lebanese people.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , ,