An enormous explosion shook the Lebanese capital, Beirut, on Tuesday evening.
Videos widely shared online show a plume of smoke rising from a point near Beirut’s port, before a huge explosion is seen rocking the surrounding area.
The BBC report that Lebanese officials have stated the explosion was caused as a result of highly explosive materials being stored in a warehouse for six years. President Michel Aoun has said that it is “unacceptable” that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was stored unsafely – and has sworn to hold those responsible to account. Currently, an investigation is underway to determine and confirm the cause of the explosion.
So far, reports state that at least 78 people are dead and more than 4,000 have been injured by the blast. Currently, rescue workers are searching through the rubble from the explosion for survivors.
Buildings near the site of the explosion have been torn down, and locals and residents have reported shards of glass littering the floors of the streets, with windows and doors blown into buildings.
One hospital, St George Hospital, is set around a kilometre from the site of the explosion, and has been particularly badly affected by the blast. A report from The Independent states that the emergency department there has been destroyed, and that the power has been cut, risking lives.
The explosion occurred during what is already a tough time for Beirut and Lebanon. Reports state that Lebanon’s economy is already on the brink of collapse. And with the coronavirus pandemic, the UMR (United Mission for Relief & Development), a non-profit organisation that focuses on providing disaster relief, states that hundreds of thousands have been pushed into poverty.
President Aoun has said that the government would release 100 billion lira (£50billion) of emergency funds to help deal with the fallout from the explosion.
But how can we try and help from different areas of the globe?
How to help Beirut: how can you help those affected by the Beirut explosion?
Largely, the best way to help those in Beirut right now is to donate, so that those on the ground have the resources to handle the crisis as best they possibly can.
Donate to the Lebanese Red Cross
The Lebanese Red Cross are in Beirut now assisting those affected by the explosion. In a tweet shared earlier today, they urged that anyone looking to help should do it through them only – not any third parties claiming to support them.
The Lebanese Red Cross stated that they are unable to reach all the wounded in their homes at this moment, and have urged anyone injured to come to first aid stations around the city.
Contribute to fundraisers for the crisis
A card circulating on social media has highlighted two crowdfunding fundraising efforts for the Beirut crisis.
This JustGiving page, coordinated by Impact Lebanon, is aiming to raise £5,000,000 to “provide disaster relief” following the explosion. You can donate via the page directly.
There is also a LaunchGood fundraising effort, which you can find here, asking for donations. It is being run by UMR. They state that they are “assessing the situation and responding as quickly as we can.”
Continuing, they explained, “We are currently preparing to ship emergency health kits to hospitals in Lebanon. Each health kit can serve 10,000 beneficiaries for 3 months, which is vital as hospitals are already overwhelmed by the increasing number of patients.”
Donate to and raise awareness of Doctors without Borders
Doctors without Borders are an organisation that aim to provide medical aid where it is needed the most, without any other contributing factors affecting where they go and who they help.
They have been working in Lebanon for years already, and will likely continue to assist with this crisis.
In order to help, they explain that you can:
- sign up to receive their emails
- raise awareness of the organisation and the situation in Lebanon by resharing a Facebook post from them
- and, donate to them and the work they do.
Donate to Save the Children
Like Doctors without Borders, Save the Children have been assisting in Lebanon for a while now.
The organisation has now put out a statement, confirming that, “Our rapid response team stand by prepared to support the government in their efforts in the coming days.”
Sharing their concern for children in the city right now, they have also said, “The circumstances of the explosion are not yet known, but Save the Children teams on the ground reported entire streets wiped out, with children unaccounted for as rescue teams work through destroyed buildings to get people out of the rubble.”
In order to help, you can donate via the Save the Children Lebanon page, here.
Anything you can give will help to assist those affected by the Beirut explosion.