All the ways you can help the people of Beirut

A warehouse explosion on Tuesday has killed over a hundred people and injured thousands more. Whether you’re nearby or on a different continent, here’s how to support those affected.

by Douglas Greenwood
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05 August 2020, 11:41am

Yesterday, 2,750 tonnes of unsafely stored ammonium nitrate -- used for fertilisers and bombs -- exploded in Beirut’s port district. The blast killed hundreds, and injured thousands, with the number of injuries stretching the city’s hospitals to breaking point. Death tolls are expected to rise as bodies are found; many were buried under rubble or thrown into the sea by the force of the explosion. “There could still be victims,” George Kettani, the head of Lebanon’s Red Cross told Reuters.

The explosion has come at a crisis point for the Lebanese capital Trials for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri were due to come to a close this week, after 15 years of debate. Furthermore, demonstrations have been taking place in Lebanon over the handling of the “worst economic crisis” since the civil war that ran between 1975 and 1990. For much of the inner city, the explosion spells further disaster. Beirut’s mayor, Jamal Itani, believes repairing the damage is expected to cost billions of dollars. “This is a catastrophe for Beirut and Lebanon,” he said.

The cost of rebuilding homes and lives is immense. For a country already struggling economically, this is a disaster for its residents. But there are things you can do to help.

Donate

For those who are watching the crisis in Beirut unfold from afar, it's important to utilise the safety and privilege you’re afforded to help those in need. Sharing information is great, but if you have the money to spare consider donating it to help the country recover from this.

Impact Lebanon have launched a JustGiving page to raise funds for NGOs on the ground in Beirut.

The Lebanese Red Cross desperately needs funding.

If you’d prefer to donate directly to local NGOs, there’s an extensive list of them here.

The videos being fed through social media of the bomb blast are harrowing. Remember that beneath that cloud of smoke is a community of people who have worked tirelessly to rebuild their lives only for disaster to strike again. Families have lost loved ones. Local businesses have been destroyed. Hundreds, if not thousands, are homeless. We’ll only know in the coming days the exact extent to which Beirut has been rocked by this. Take action. Donate whatever money you can spare.

Share these accounts on your own social channels

As physical infrastructure and electricity drops out in the city, means of communication are few and far between. Many people are looking for shelter, or for their relatives who they can’t get in contact with. @LocateVictimsBeirut is republishing photos and contact details of those who’ve not been in contact with their relatives since the blast. Some are in hospitals but families have no way of knowing which one.

Similarly, with hundreds of houses destroyed, and thousands more in a state of danger or disrepair, many are looking for shelter. @Open_Houses_Lebanon are reposting invites from those with safe accommodation within the city or its outskirts for those who’ve been made homeless by the disaster. The account @thawramap is also posting free hotel spaces and accommodation too.

Nearby? Donate blood and volunteer

The mass injuries caused by the explosion have meant that the demand for blood transfusions has increased. The Red Cross in Lebanon is trying desperately to keep up with that demand. If you are in Beirut, or elsewhere in Lebanon, they are running emergency blood drives right now. You can head to their website for thorough information on how to donate, or to their social channels for more immediate updates. They have set up first aid centres in Martyrs’ Square and Forum de Beyrouth. There are also organisations looking for volunteers to help support the injured. This carrd link has a comprehensive list of all of those who need help.

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Lebanon
Beirut