On the evening of Tuesday 4 August, two explosions at the port of Lebanon's capital city of Beirut sent an enormous shockwave across the city killing more 100 people and leaving more than 4,000 injured. Thousands of families were affected by the explosion. Many of them have slept in shattered homes or temporary accommodation, while also facing the deadly threat of the coronavirus pandemic. Rescue workers are still searching for many more missing people and much of Beirut is now uninhabitable.
At least 300,000 homes have been damaged, said the Beirut governor, Marwan Abboud. The UN has estimated that the total damages could reach 3-5 billion USD.
Christine Allen, CAFOD's Director, said: "CAFOD expresses its deepest sympathies and prayers to the families of the victims, as well as to the people Lebanon, following the horrific explosions in Beirut. Local Lebanese organisations, that CAFOD works alongside, have told us of the widespread destruction that has swept the city. And, how their volunteers are already on the frontlines: assisting in hospitals and helping the injured.
"This disaster has happened at a challenging time for Lebanon, as they deal with the coronavirus pandemic and the country's economic turmoil. This explosion threatens to push many who were already suffering further into poverty and hunger. CAFOD remains committed to supporting Lebanon at this difficult time.
Hospitals and doctors were already reporting shortages of vital medical supplies and PPE before the explosion. They are now under even greater strain.
This disaster has only added to an existing political and economic crisis, putting further stress on people as they struggle to cope in their daily lives. Nearly 2,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in Lebanon, but due to a lack of testing this number could be much higher.
Hospitals and doctors were already reporting shortages of vital medical supplies and PPE before the explosion. Many were turning away non-critical cases to conserve resources. They are now under even greater strain.
Lebanon's economy is in freefall. Many are surviving by eating less food while sinking further into debt. The availability of food in the country is at high risk and this explosion will have long-lasting impacts on Lebanon's precarious food security.
Through CAFOD's extensive community network, we are well-placed to provide aid in some of the worst-hit and most inaccessible areas.
Local organisation Caritas Lebanon has a network of youth volunteers and staff who are already actively assisting in response to the huge explosion. They are on site, volunteering at hospitals and assisting the injured.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, our local experts have been continuing to provide food, shelter, water, and medical supplies to thousands of refugees in Lebanon and their host communities.
We have also adapted our work so that we continue to safely provide training, education, support to female-led co-operatives, and work to promote social cohesion and greater understanding among communities.
What can I do to help?
Pray for the people of Beirut - see CAFOD prayers here: https://cafod.org.uk/Pray/Prayer-resources/Pray-for-Beirut
Donate to CAFOD's emergency work: https://cafod.org.uk/donations/one-off?_Amount=25&_Appeal=121949
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