Massive explosion rocks Lebanese capital Beirut killing at least 135 and injuring around 5,000 people. Here’s how you can help. By Tanvi Jain
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A major explosion rocked the Lebanese capital of Beirut earlier this week, killing at least 135 and injuring around 5,000 people. President Michel Aoun blamed it on the presence of at least 2,700 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate at the port for the past six years, adding that ‘it’s unacceptable’ and those responsible will face the ‘harshest punishment’. The Governor of Beirut estimated damage of over USD 3 billion, further informing that at least three lakh people have been displaced, and many are even missing.
However, as far as the Indian community is concerned, the Embassy of India in Lebanon assured that no casualties have been reported of far. “The Embassy is constantly reaching out to the Indian community — no casualties reported. Amb @SuhelAKhanIFS also met with Ms @anchalvohra this morning & enquired her welfare. The Emb is fully functional & is available for any help required by the community. @MEAIndia @SecySanjay, it tweeted, also sharing helpline numbers for the members of the Indian community in the country.
2 big explosions heard in Central Beirut this evening. Everyone is advised to stay calm. Any Indian community member in need of any help, may contact our Help Line. @MEAIndia @SecySanjay pic.twitter.com/xWlgU8WdNB
— India in Lebanon (@IndiaInLebanon) August 4, 2020
Moreover, the country has appealed for help from the rest of the world. Some organisations seeking donations include The Lebanese Red Cross (LRC), an independent firm focused on disaster prevention and relief. “All available Lebanese Red Cross ambulances from North Lebanon, Bekaa and South Lebanon are being dispatched to Beirut to support with rescue and evacuation of patients. More than 30 teams are responding to the explosion. Please make way to our ambulances!” it tweeted, also sharing the link for people to come forward and make a contribution.
https://t.co/y1iZyWze0R#SupportLRC #LebaneseRedCross pic.twitter.com/oiYDTtgJv6
— Lebanese Red Cross (@RedCrossLebanon) August 6, 2020
Another nonprofit organisation — Impact Lebanon — has also set up a crowdfunding campaign; justgiving.com/crowdfunding/impact-lebanon, and has so far raised USD 3 million, out of which it has already donated the first USD 1 lakh to LRC. Similarly, while a charity named Byatna Byatak is offering shelter to the displaced, the Lebanese Foodbank, which runs feeding programmes is collecting food donations from hotels and restaurants, and also @lebenesefoodbank.org. Beit el Baraka that runs free supermarket is working to repair the damaged homes, for which you can donate @beitelbaraka.net/donation/pay/. Amel Association, a not-for-profit organisation, which provides health and psychological services, and runs several healthcare centres in Beirut, is collecting cash and food donations @gofundme.com/f/emergency-fund-for-lebanon.
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Furthermore, international aid has already been dispatched by many countries and many others have pledged monetary help. For example – while Qatar has reportedly sent mobile hospitals, burn sheets and generators, Algeria has offered to send four planes and a ship with firefighters, medical teams and humanitarian aid. Germany has also sent dozens of search and rescue specialists, and the UK has promised a package of approximately INR 50 crore, rescue workers with specially trained dogs and Royal Navy ship. Similarly, Israel has also offered medical and humanitarian aid and emergency assistance. Russia has assured to send five humanitarian aid planes.
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Meanwhile, State Secretary Mike Pompeo has also offered US help to Lebanon, and WHO has pledged to send trauma and surgical kits from Dubai. In fact, The World Bank Group has also offered to help mobilise public and private financing, for the recovery and reconstruction.
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