Hope from the ashes: rebuilding Beirut after a devastating explosion 

01 Mar 21
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Theresia is a young volunteer with Caritas Lebanon. Photo: Caritas Lebanon.

After a devastating explosion rocked a city and a society which was already facing enormous challenges, your support is helping to rebuild and restore livelihoods in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut. 

When around 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, exploded on August 4th, 2020, Caritas Lebanon’s youth volunteers swung into action, along with a network of Caritas field staff. 

The network assessed the needs on the ground, distributing emergency food and medical supplies in the immediate aftermath of the explosion as well as unfolding a longer-term rebuilding response which is still underway. 

Among some of the most shocking statistics caused by the explosion last August, were the: 

  • 300,000 people left homeless 
  • 200 people dead 
  • 7,500 injured 
  • 80,000 children among the displaced
  • Hundreds of months of collective schooling lost 

(Reliefweb) 

In the days after the explosion, Caritas Lebanon distributed 

  • 400 food kits 
  • 20,000 hot meals distributed to people in need 
  • 194 medical first aid kits
  • 700 youth volunteers also helped in the clean-up of over 200 houses 

Amongst the volunteers was Theresia, who worked as the coordinator of an emergency tent for Caritas Lebanon. 

I was very happy to receive more than 300-400 young volunteers on a daily basis, all coming from different areas and districts of Lebanon,” Theresia says.  

The blast affected everyone and everything. It is difficult to talk about the recovery of a woman who lost all her family members, of a man who lost his house, car, job and life savings, of an elderly man who lost his small shop and was injured and became disabled. 

As part of its longer-term response, Caritas Australia continues to stand with its partners, Caritas Lebanon and Beirut’s residents. Support in the months since the explosion has included: 

  • 15,000 hot meals and food kits distributed 
  • 35 individuals supported with house repairs 
  • 19 homes or buildings restored and 13 business renovations 
  • 131 individuals received psychological first aid. 
  • 394 participants benefitted from health activities. 

Find out more about Caritas Australia’s emergency response in Lebanon and in partnership with Caritas Lebanon 

For me, even if all the material things were recovered, the psychosocial  damage that happened, the severe physical injuries, and the lives we lost will definitely leave a mark and sadly, can’t be recovered,” Theresia says. 

The only hope for Lebanon is its youth and the coming generations, I was more than willing to help and put all their efforts to the service of the blast response. 

Through your support, residents of a city in crisis have been supported in the areas of health, shelter rehabilitation and long-term support and recovery. Thank you for standing with Lebanon.