On Tuesday, August 4, a massive explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut. Harrowing footage revealed it took place in the city's port area, wreaking widespread havoc, claiming lives and leaving thousands injured.
Though early reports suggested the cause was a major fire at a firecracker warehouse close to the port, Lebanese President Michel Aoun has since announced that the blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate (an agricultural fertiliser and explosive) stored unsafely in a port warehouse for six years. It is suggested that a warehouse at Beirut's port caught fire, causing the material to detonate.
Lebanon - which has been battling an unprecedented economic crisis made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic - is currently dealing with the aftermath of this tragic event, and needs all the help it can possibly get at this time. Here are 6 ways you can make a difference.
Donate to the Lebanese Red Cross
To treat their injuries and repair the damages caused by the explosion, the people of Beirut are in dire need of medical and financial aid. As the country's main provider of ambulance services, the Lebanese Red Cross has been working tirelessly to treat the wounded, help in search-and-rescue operations, and offer temporary shelter, hygiene kits and food. Donate here.
Donate to the United Nations’ World Food Program
The program provides food to people displaced or made homeless by the explosion. As Lebanon imports around 85 per cent of its food mainly through the now-damaged port, food prices are likely to be beyond the reach of many. Donate here.
Donate to Impact Lebanon
Impact Lebanon, a nonprofit organisation, has set up a crowdfunding campaign to support first-responder organisations in Beirut, and is helping to share information about people who are still missing after the explosion. The group has raised over $3 million and donated the first $100,000 to the Lebanese Red Cross. Donate here.
Donate to Baytna Baytak
Baytna Baytak, a charity that had previously been providing free housing to healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, is now working alongside Impact Lebanon to provide shelter for the 300,000+ people who lost their homes in the explosion. Donate here.
Donate to UNICEF
The United Nations agency is providing medical and vaccine supplies, as well as drinking water for rescue workers at the port. Its on-the-ground team is also counselling children traumatised by the blast. Donate here.
For those in Beirut
There is an urgent need for blood donations for those affected by the crisis. Several social media accounts, such as @locatevictimsbeirut, have also been set up to help locate victims.
Photos: Instagram and supplied