Human Rights – Caritas helping amidst apocalyptic scenes in Lebanon

Source: Caritas

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand announced today that it will provide urgently needed funding for Lebanon amidst apocalyptic scenes from a massive explosion in the port of Beirut yesterday.

The blast killed at least 100 people and injured more than 4,000 others.  It was so strong that it registered as a 4.5 earthquake and was felt 150 miles away in the island of Cyprus. Windows were blown out of houses and buildings up to 15 miles from the port. The search for survivors is still ongoing.

“Hospitals and doctors had already been reporting shortages of vital medical supplies such as anesthesia, medication and sutures before yesterday’s explosion. Amidst these scenes of absolute devastation, we must act now. Caritas will provide funding to help the Lebanese people in this hour of need,” said Julianne Hickey, Director of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.

At least four hospitals were affected by the blast. St George Hospital, one of the city’s largest, was so severely damaged that it had to shut down and transfer patients to other hospitals outside of Beirut.  Medical staff who survived the blast were treating patients on street sidewalks using flashlights to work because there was no electricity.

Thousands of families who were already facing difficult circumstances due to ongoing conflict, economic instability and the COVID-19 pandemic were affected in yesterday’s explosion. “We need to show our solidarity with the poor and vulnerable in Beirut, who are facing so many urgent and severe challenges. We must do what we can to ensure that they have the life-saving support they need,” said Mrs Hickey.

Caritas Lebanon’s youth volunteers and staff are actively assisting. Yesterday, they were on site nearby hospitals assisting the injured and are dispatching a Rapid Response team. Although their offices were damaged by the blast, Caritas Lebanon remains committed to supporting vulnerable people in the aftermath of this tragic incident.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is sending a solidarity grant from their Peace in the Middle East fund. Anyone who is interested in contributing to the support for Lebanon can donate online at caritas.org.nz or over the phone by calling 0800 22 10 22.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is the New Zealand Catholic Bishops' agency for justice, peace and development, and incorporates Catholic Volunteers Overseas. We are working for a world free of poverty and injustice through community development, advocacy, education, and emergency relief.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories.