Following the massive explosion which killed over 200 people and wounded 6500, Caritas Australia, part of the global Caritas network, is responding to the immediate needs of blast survivors in Beirut with an international solidarity effort.
The Caritas Internationalis network, a confederation of 169 global Caritas partners, is donating over $1,200,000 to Caritas Lebanon. The Australian community has already donated $117,000 through Caritas Australia.
Though Lebanon is still emerging from a two-week Government enforced coronavirus lockdown, the Caritas network has been given the ‘green light’ to continue working closely with communities at this fraught time.
"As a Caritas volunteer, I've experienced the suffering of the victims of the #BeirutBlast. We sleep on the streets to be there for them. If you do not sympathise with the sufferers, you can't understand their pain.”
Help Lauren help Beirut's people: https://t.co/IaZ4ltZIiE pic.twitter.com/zuO07a4W9H
— Caritas (@iamCARITAS) August 31, 2020
The appeal response commenced at the end of August and will continue for 18 months. It includes food, hygiene materials, like soap and water, and emergency cash assistance to renovate houses for those who cannot afford essential shelter, as winter approaches. In the long-term, the response also offers mental health consultations with blast survivors, assessment of shelter damage so that engineers can be involved in repair efforts and online education support for students who cannot make it into schools or whose schools were destroyed in the blast.
“We must not lose sight of the fact that the effects of economic sanctions and political violence have weakened this country and are weighing heavily on Lebanon, which is facing a food shortage,” said Dr Rita Rhayem, the Director of Caritas Lebanon.
“It is vital that the international community acts decisively to alleviate the suffering of poor Lebanese, immediately removing economic sanctions.”
Dr Rita will be one of three speakers at a virtual briefing for Australian Parliamentarians, which includes Caritas Australia. It will be held on September 7, shortly after the one-month anniversary of the blast.
Caritas Australia has committed to providing emergency support to Lebanon, in the form of crucial financial aid, as part of its already established Middle East Regional Appeal. The Appeal remains open in anticipation of long-term need.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Beirut and the Lebanese community here in Australia at this time of enormous heartbreak and loss. The Lebanese community is a valued part of the Caritas Australia network.
With thanks to Caritas Australia.