In the early hours of Tuesday, August 4th, 2020, international news broke that a devastating and seemingly mysterious blast had ripped through the eastern parts of Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut, destroying entire city blocks with an explosion said to be felt off the shores of Cyprus. Videos of the incident have left people speechless, and while the cause of the explosion is still unknown, the beautiful people of Lebanon are facing a severe humanitarian crisis.
As of this morning, the fatality number in Beirut has reached over 100 persons with another 4000 injured (and counting). An estimated total of 250,000 people are left without homes… Lebanese officials have called this disaster one of the worst of the nation’s history and are now asking for international assistance in helping manage and rebuild from this debilitating crisis.
In Canada, Lebanese-Canadians have helped us thrive, and we are a better country because of their contributions; we should be trying our best to aid and support them in their time of despair. The majority of Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian-Canadians right here in Toronto have friends and/or family living in Beirut (the city has become somewhat of a safe-haven for refugees and immigrants fleeing unspeakable wars in their native countries), and while many of us would like to help these victims of what looks to be the worst modern disaster since 9/11, we don’t know how… So, how can we help?
The following are some quick and easy ways you can help the victims and those affected in Beirut:
- Lebanese Red Cross is led by volunteers whose mission is to provide relief to victims of natural and human disasters, help prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies, and to mitigate the suffering of the most vulnerable. LRC promotes peace in society and strives to alleviate human suffering with neutrality and without any racial, sexual, social, religious or political discrimination. Right now, they are in dire need of blood donations, but you can also donate money to help facilitate them.
- The International Rescue Committee provides support to Syrian refugees struggling to get by in Lebanon and the resource-strapped Lebanese communities hosting them:
- Global Compact Network Lebanon (GCNL) is one of the 68 Local Networks around the world that operates through a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the UN Global Compact HQ (HQ):
- GlobalGiving is the largest global crowdfunding community connecting nonprofits, donors, and companies in nearly every country. They help nonprofits from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe (and hundreds of places in between, including Lebanon) access the tools, training, and support they need to be more effective and make our world a better place.
- The Lebanese Food Bank is a non-profit (Licence #1596), non-confessional and non-partisan organization established by a group of Lebanese businessmen in 2012 and a member of the Regional Food Banking Network in Dubai. Together they strive towards the eradication of hunger throughout Lebanon through a range of food, development/training and awareness programs.
- Help Lebanon is a community-driven online resource list providing ways to donate to the Lebanese Disaster Relief Fund, the Lebanese Red Cross, Urgent Blood Needs, and more (as well as initiatives like Black Lives Matter, Free Palestine, and the Yemen Crisis).
If you are unable to personally help with the crisis, please share these links and initiatives with friends and family who may be able to donate or help foster some sort of relief for the people of Lebanon who are living through this unspeakable tragedy.