Already deep in the thralls of an intensifying economic crisis that has seen the collapse of its currency, the early onset of famine and exacerbated political unrest, Lebanon has been hit by yet another tragedy. Killing at least 78 people and injuring almost 4,000, two explosions in downtown Beirut yesterday afternoon flattened much of the city’s port, with waves of terror engulfing buildings across the city. Destroying homes, offices, and myriad other structures, the explosion left a thick layer of smoke billowing around central Beirut, while windows, vehicles, and doors were left shattered on account of the consequent shockwave. The cause of the disaster is currently being linked to the presence of ammonium nitrate, of which 2,750 tonnes had been stored at the port for six years without safety measures in place.
As the people of Beirut solemnly commence a three day period of national mourning, an outpouring of thoughts, prayers, and resources in the form of monetary and humanitarian aid have flooded in from around the world. Taking to Twitter to offer his condolences, the UAE’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed wrote, “We pray that God grants you patience and solace. God bless Lebanon and the Lebanese people.” Similarly, in a statement issued by the Saudi Press Agency, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirmed their support of Lebanon noting they stood in solidarity with the “brotherly Lebanese people,” and were “following with great concern the repercussions of the explosion that occurred.” Jordan‘s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Amman was ready to provide any help Lebanon needed, while Iran said it was “fully prepared to render assistance in any way necessary”.
Across the Gulf, landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo also lit up with images of the Lebanese flag in a bid to express sympathy and support. “#BurjKhalifa lights up in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in #Lebanon,” read the caption under the image posted by the landmark’s Instagram page.
Leaders around the world have also expressed their devastation for Beirut and its tragedy. “Russia shares the grief of the Lebanese people. Please convey the words of sympathy and support to the families of those killed and wishes of the soonest recovery to those injured,” read a letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin to Aoun. Meanwhile in Washington, a State Department spokesperson said, “We extend our deepest condolences to all those affected, and stand ready to offer all possible assistance.”
With hospitals inundated with injured victims, relief groups across the country have put out a cry for help, resources and money. To offer assistance, here’s where to go:
The Lebanese Red Cross
Providing ambulance services across the country, the group has said on Twitter that it has already set up “triage and first aid stations,” to help those with noncritical injuries. Click here to donate.
Raising funds through the crowdfunding site JustGiving, this organization has raised almost AED 722,000 as of Tuesday. Click here to donate.
For those who are in the area and can afford to do so, hospitals across Beirut are requesting the assistance of blood donors. For the full list of locations, click here.