Beirut Explosion and What You Can Do to Help
Updated: Dec 16, 2020
Lebanon is currently in a battle with political unrest, a pandemic, an unprecedented economic crisis, and reconstruction from the Beirut explosion. What can you do to help?
BY SOPHIA REBOLLEDO
This past Tuesday on August 4th, a 2,750 ton cache of ammonium nitrate exploded in Beirut, Lebanon. The incendiary compound was confiscated back in 2013 and left in the Port of Beirut since then. According to Lebanon’s health ministry, Lebanon is faced with thousands injured, 300,000 of civilians displaced, and a death toll over over 100, including political party leader Nazar Najarian. The damage of the explosion was so severe military bulldozers were required in order for ambulances and firefighters to reach the area. While officials are unclear on the cause of the explosion, it is clear that the spread of the coronavirus along with the Beirut explosion have exacerbated the preexisting social, political, economic, and health plights.
Starting in October 2019, The Lebanese people have organized multi-sectarian protests and demonstrations fueled by the Lebanese government which is struggling with its corrupt political elite, political instability, regional tension, and infrastructural problems leading to the Lebanese citizen’s “Thawra” or revolution.
Lebanon is in the midst of its worst economic crisis in decades.
In addition to the spike of political unrest towards the Lebanese government since last fall, Lebanon is faced with massive inflation due to its collapsed currency and immense public debt (third-largest public debt to GDP ratio in the world at 150%) causing the Lebanese pound LBD to lose 86% of its value.
As there is no longer a middle class, almost 33% of its population is living in sub-poverty levels and about 25% are facing unemployment.
Lebanon is on the brink of starvation with trepidation of repeating its 1915-1918 famine in which they lost half of its population as food prices rise 55% from 2019. With the second surge of the coronavirus, there are heightened concerns over a widespread famine as those with weakened immune systems have a higher chance of death.
The American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) announces that it will lay off 1,600 workers due to the economic strain of Lebanon’s economic crisis.
The lack of revenue, in addition to the anticipated shut down of Port Beirut, hinders the acquisition of essential medical equipment leading to a shortage of PPE, gloves, masks, and more. In addition, due to the lack of infrastructure, power cuts, dirty drinking water, finite public health care, and hospitals lacking 6 hours a day is not uncommon.
Unlike what the western media presents the Middle East as, the devastating explosion in Beirut is not something that the Lebanese people is accustomed to or considered "normal" simply because it is in the Middle East. We need to end the negative stigma that the Middle East is a land full of constant bombs and dread and quit the Eurocentric thinking that what happened in Beirut could never happen to our own cities.
How you can help:
Share and spread the news and stories on Lebanon on your social media platforms.
Continue to educate yourself on what is happening in Beirut and Lebanon and start treating Middle Eastern tragedies like other disasters such as the Notre Dame fire.
Donate to organizations providing resources in Lebanon (if you have the means to donate, with the unstable state of the Lebanese government, be conscious of exactly where your money is going and ensure that it goes straight to the people of Lebanon)
Lebanese Red Cross (best to donate through the Red Cross app): https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2020/beirut-explosion-red-cross-treating-the-wounded.html
Life Emergency Relief Fund: https://lifelebanon.org/
- Food Relief
-Marginalized Communities and Elders
- Disaster Relief Fund: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lebanon-relief?utm_term=PYp7gXzyD
Other Resources to Check Out: