On 4th August 2020, the capital city Beirut witnessed a devastating explosion which ranked globally as one of the largest non-nuclear explosions on record. The consequences were huge for a small country of 10,452 km2. Two hundred and four people were confirmed dead and more than 6,500 injured – homes as far as 10 kilometres away were completely damaged, and up to 300,000 people were left homeless.
The Beirut explosion exacerbated the social and economic crisis that was already plaguing Lebanon. One year on from the explosion, the nation remains in a vulnerable situation. Since Autumn 2019, the Lebanese Pound has lost 90% of its total value – 70% of people are living at or below the poverty line, petrol and food prices have skyrocketed, and filling a petrol tank costs the equivalent of a typical day’s wages.
The HOPE worldwide Lebanon team of volunteers are supporting families in a holistic way, meeting physical needs, educational needs and supporting the emotional well-being of families. Their work has included restoring the broken glass of more than 50 homes in the area surrounding the explosion, donating food parcels to over 500 families in need, distributing over-the-counter medicine, running a tuition centre for students, and running parenting and marriage classes.
1 New York Times (2021) Collapse: Inside Lebanon’s Worst Economic Meltdown in More Than a Century. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/04/world/lebanon-crisis.html.