By Natalie Sarrett
Families across Beirut, Lebanon, are reeling from the aftermath of the devastating explosions on Tuesday, August 4.
Hundreds of people were killed.
The blast was so catastrophic that local authorities have stopped the search and rescue phase of operations, as it has become clear that there were no survivors that close to the epicenter.
Send Relief has partners working around the clock to assess the situation and mobilize emergency assistance as quickly as possible. Send Relief president Bryant Wright shared, “Our team is working with partners on the ground in Beirut to meet tremendous needs…They are helping with clearing debris in the 13 square mile area directly affected by the blast and assisting residents to repair their homes and providing water to those who have been displaced. Our partners are providing help in the name of Jesus to those most in need.”
Their initial assessment is that structural damage is the biggest issue at hand—many families were left homeless overnight, their belongings now a pile of rubble. Those who live on the fringes of the blast had windows blown in and roofs collapse on them, making it dangerous to continue living in their homes.
A partner told us that “nearly every home is stained with blood.” Volunteers will salvage family heirlooms only to find crimson handprints streaked across them.
With the nation already in turmoil before the series of mysterious explosions, many are worried about what effects this national tragedy will have in the long term, but one partner told us that the resilience of the people has been a defining feature of the relief work thus far:
“In the midst of all the chaos and debris, there is a sense of unity and pride as the people tirelessly work together to clean up the streets and the damaged homes. You can tell they are tired of yet another major event that will most assuredly set the country back again, but they have not given up and are working to push forward.”
Another encouraging result of the volunteer work being done is the camaraderie and diversity among those responding. One volunteer team that is partnering with Send Relief described themselves as an “odd ragtag bunch” of people ranging from teenagers to grandparents—they represent multiple nationalities, native languages and spiritual backgrounds. All are sacrificing their time and money to serve those most impacted.
Though our response teams are doing an incredible job of assessing and addressing urgent needs, there is still much work to be done. 300,000 people are displaced and more than 4,000 were injured. After food, water and cleanup crews have dispersed, they will still be left to grapple with the trauma that unfolded in their homeland.
Send Relief is facilitating first aid response efforts, financing medical bills and providing temporary housing to more than 200 families—and that number is growing by the day.
You can stay up to date on our response, how to pray and how to give to the Beirut Crisis Response fund at sendrelief.org/beirut.