On a regular August afternoon the lives of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Beirut citizens turned to wrecks – and literally so. Maritta is one of those affected by the massive explosion in the port warehouse last week, her house was badly damaged. Even in this difficult situation she has decided to help others as a volunteer with the Lebanese Caritas.
„I had visited my friends. Suddenly the whole house began to tremble. When we then saw the smoke it was clear that a massive explosion had occurred. It was terrifying, “says Maritta, who has recently completed her studies in the field of medicine. As soon as she made sure her family is fine, she went straight to the emergency unit in the hospital where she works. „There was an absolute chaos in the place. We were sewing up the wounds of injured people without anaesthetics. We didn’t have the time to apply the anaesthetics, “she recalls the hours that followed the tragedy.
After a long and difficult night in the hospital she came home and saw the full scope of damage. Her house had been struck in the explosion, there was broken glass everywhere and almost all the furnishing and equipment was destroyed. On the next day Maritta nevertheless joined the Caritas Lebanon volunteers who provide medical care on the streets free of charge. On average a hundred people each day are given medical assistance by the volunteers.
Lebanon had been facing a deep economic crisis even prior to the explosion, as well as a high rate of inflation; as a result of which many people could not afford to buy common medicine. „This could not have happened at a worst time. We are in the middle of a pandemic as well as an economic crisis. Because of the inflation rate hospitals suffer from shortages of medicine and medical equipment, both of which is now in greater demand, “Maritta adds.
As well as medical assistance our Caritas Lebanon colleagues assist with clearing up the rubble and provide food and material equipment to the most vulnerable. Over the next few days they will start to work on clearing up the rubble and on the repairs of the damaged houses and flats. The citizens of Beirut who found themselves in a difficult life situation following the explosions will be offered counselling and assistance by psychologists.
You can help too – by contributing to our public collection Caritas for Lebanon: any amount sent to bank account no. 55660022/0800, variable symbol 129 can make a difference to those who lost their homes, the main earner of their family or their livelihood within a few seconds. The Covid-19 crisis has shown we are not blind or deaf to the misfortune of others. We therefore believe we are able to provide an effective help in this situation!
You can financially contribute by sending DMS (SMS donation)
to the number 87 777
with the message: “DMS CHARITA SVET 30, 60 or 90”
How we help in Lebanon specifically
Caritas Czech Republic has made its contribution to the immediate assistance provided by Caritas Lebanon in Beirut – this means mainly the provision of food and basic needs for those worst affected by the disaster and also medical assistance, including the purchasing of the needed medicine. Caritas employees and volunteers are helping with clearing the rubble and tidying up the damaged houses. On top of that our Caritas organization is preparing a more of a long-term project, which will be conducted in cooperation with Caritas Switzerland as well as some other Caritas organization. In the following months we will support, mainly from the funds raised by the public collection Caritas for Lebanon, the repairs of the damaged houses and flats and we will assist the most vulnerable ones with the purchases of food, blankets and other items. In both cases the money from the Czech Republic is distributed directly to the non-profit organizations in the location of the disaster, overhead expenses will not exceed 5 per cent as stated by the Law on public collections.
How you can help
Our collection Caritas for Lebanon consists of gifts of many small donors who may contribute as little as 20 CZK, or send a SMS donation (the smallest contribution in this case is 30 CZK); when these seemingly „small“ donations add up, there could be an amazing sum in the end... We however understand that not all good people possess financial resources they can spare and so we are grateful for any offer. Caritas Czech Republic unfortunately does not have the possibility to send material donations to Lebanon, and this is why we collect money and distribute financial aid directly at the site through partner organizations. If you would like to offer clothes, blankets, etc. we can certainly find use for these items – however this will be done in the Czech Republic. In this way you can make better the life of homeless people, those in a difficult situation, mothers with children in asylum homes and so on. If you contact your nearest Caritas, you can get advice on the best way to use your donation. You can find the Caritas contact details on our web www.charita.cz.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for any support in the name of all those in need!