This week marks one year since an explosion in the port city of Beirut killed almost 200 people, injuring thousands and leaving a city in rubble with some 300,000 homes damaged or destroyed and decimating 80 per cent of Lebanon’s food supply.
It was caused by a fire that broke out at the port triggering an explosion of highly combustible materials stored in a hanger.
The tragedy exacerbated challenges for a nation already under extreme pressure with food insecurity and shortages, escalating Covid-19 cases and a health system in crisis.
Within days of the crisis unfolding, and moved with compassion for the people of Lebanon, Hillsong Church gave generously to meet their immediate needs.
Almost $120,000 was sent to our partners, World Vision and Preemptive Love Coalition, who were among the first on the ground to provide emergency assistance and assess the needs for long term support and recovery.
World Vision Australia provided food parcels, blankets, hygiene kits and PPE kits to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and reduce the impact an overstretched health system. They also provided shelter solutions in the form of household shelter kits, cash assistance for home repairs and access to drinkable water.
World Vision also provided support to families in the form of psychological first aid, coping mechanisms for parents and capacity building for partners and staff in response to the psycho-social distress being experienced among children and caregivers.
World Vision Australia’s Chief Field Impact, Graham Strong said “Here at World Vision Australia we deeply appreciate that Hillsong as a church continues to demonstrate the generosity of God’s people by responding to the needs of the broken and disadvantaged in situations like this… your support makes our mission possible.”
Watch the video from World Vision here
Through our partnership with Preemptive Love Coalition their teams were able to act fast – providing for immediate needs and continuing their work to help the people of Beirut rebuild.
The team at Preemptive Love told us the story of Maryiam, who’s 9-member family lives in a single room house, with a small kitchen space and toilet. The blast tore through their door and windows and filled the home with smoke, chemicals and dust. The team showed up to help repair Maryiam’s home and provide essential appliances so they could cook, wash clothes, and store food. Just seeing the refrigerator, the children jumped for joy.
“In the last year you’ve helped us rebuild 145 homes and provide essential appliances for families, serve 321,194 hot meals to those in need and distribute 819 food packs to support the most food insecure people.
Thank you for joining us on this journey of rebuilding not just homes, but also families and communities.”
A year on, while the physical rubble has been cleared, the recovering and rebuilding goes on in people’s lives. And while there are still huge challenges for the people of Lebanon, the support you gave brought comfort, a glimmer of hope and has helped to set them on a pathway to restoration.
Hillsong Social Justice Australia
*All images courtesy of Preemptive Love Coalition
**Video courtesy of World Vision Australia