( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Beirut is in Major Need of Assistance
ENSPIRE Contributor: Logan Floyd
The city of Beirut in Lebanon was recently devastated by a huge explosion caused by a shipment of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse in the city’s port. The blast killed at least 220 people, with another 6,000 injured and about 110 still missing. A fire at the warehouse set off the ammonium nitrate, resulting in the casualty figures above as well as massive damage to the city itself. As of now, an already economically crippled Lebanon is facing an estimated $10-15 billion in property damage, and over 300,000 Beirutis have been left homeless. Now more than ever before, the people of Lebanon need help.
Lebanon was already in trouble even before the explosion. The country’s economy was suffering greatly due to financial strains caused by the coronavirus, with the value of its currency dropping rapidly in the midst of the pandemic. An estimated 75 percent of Lebanese people required aid before the incident in Beirut, and the World Bank projected that Lebanon’s poverty rate would stand at almost 50 percent in 2020. Add to this not only the damage wrought by the explosion in Beirut, but the fact that the country has now lost its major port and one of its main centers of economic activity, and one is left with a perfect disaster.
On top of everything else, Lebanon now also faces an uncertain future with its government. After the explosion, many blamed the Lebanese government’s incompetence and negligence for allowing the explosion to happen, and a number of cabinet members stepped down as a result. By Aug. 10, the country’s entire cabinet had resigned, and Prime Minister Hassan Diab followed suit. Now leaderless, the country continues to experience unrest, with many fearing what will happen to themselves and their loved ones.
Yet even in the face of so much turmoil and despair, all hope may not be lost. Already, the international community is doing its part. Countries around the world have sent food, medical supplies, medical workers, field hospitals, and rescue teams to Beirut, and world leaders have pledged approximately $300 million in aid. It is worth noting that this money was not pledged to the Lebanese government, but rather the people of Lebanon themselves. The Lebanese Red Cross has dedicated all of the resources it can to helping Beirut, and other international organizations have already taken note of the crisis and are doing what they can to assist the Lebanese people.
The crisis in Beirut and Lebanon at large may be an unfolding tragedy, but it also presents the opportunity for kindness and generosity from the rest of the world. Please consider donating to the Lebanese Red Cross as well as the organizations working to provide relief, which can be found here. The Lebanese are facing an impossible road ahead, and every bit you can offer could make all the difference. It is in times such as these that we must lend aid to our neighbors, for who knows when or where the next disaster could strike, and who will be there to help us when the smoke clears.