The Middle East Council of Churches has issued an appeal in response to the large explosion that took 137 lives, with many people still missing.
“Hundreds of buildings including grain silos storing around 85 percent of the country’s grain, and numerous residential places have also been damaged or completely destroyed,” reads the appeal. “Three Christian hospitals in the Beirut Area, which welcome both Christian and Muslim patients, were severely damaged.”
The appeal also notes that many historical church-related schools in Gemmayzeh, Mar Mikhael and Achrafieh were badly affected just before the coming academic year in September. “The Christian quarter of Beirut is totally devastated and at least ten churches have been destroyed,” the appeal reads. Government reports estimate that more than 137 people were killed, around 100 are still missing, over 5,000 injured, and more than 300,000 people were left homeless.
“Adding to that the COVID-19 transmission which is straining the country’s health system,” the appeal reads. “Lebanon has been through a lot: wars, crises and catastrophes.”
The appeal reflects that the explosion went beyond anything the Lebanese people could have imagined. “The explosion reduced large parts of the capital to rubble and made all Lebanese people lose their hopes for a better life,” reads the appeal. “Monasteries and schools were opened to host people who have been left without a roof and daily food is served to people in need.”
The Middle East Council of Churches reiterates its belief that standing with vulnerable people is not just a social duty but a Christian responsibility. “In fact, one of its main strategic objectives is to uphold human dignity in times of conflicts and during all kinds of disasters,” reads the appeal. “Lebanon is expecting a strong stand from the international community and international organizations to lend a helping hand in such difficult times.”
The Middle East Council of Churches urges churches and all people of good will to show solidarity with Lebanon. “Thus, we call upon all our partners and friends, to answer our call and aid us in easing the huge burden on churches and in rolling away the stone of suffering, terror and despair from the hearts of vulnerable citizens and families affected by this unprecedented catastrophe.”