Support families affected by the Beirut explosion Monday 24th August For anyone who might be interested, this is a link to the needs assessment we carried out which has informed our response to the explosion. Please feel free to download and take a read. Thursday 20th August Some of our team preparing for the day before beginning distribution to families. Lebanon is now on a two week lockdown after a surge in Coronavirus cases following the port explosion. This has shortened the working day but we are still able to continue our financial support to families in the Bourj Hammoud area. Thursday 13th August So far your support is enabling us to provide financial assistance to over 200 families. This is covering essential costs such as food, medicine, rent and repairs to their homes. However, we want to do more. What is the most valuable thing you can give someone? Your TIME. Providing financial aid is crucial – with food shortages looming and prices skyrocketing it is indeed ESSENTIAL – but spending time listening, hearing people’s hopes and fears, time spent grieving together, time spent building RELATIONSHIPS. These are the things which bring true hope in a time of crisis…Hope comes relationally. This is why we are going further, to not simply just distribute aid, but to give our time as we do so. People are fearing what the future holds, for many the explosion conjured up images of Lebanon’s violent past and the civil war. There is so much uncertainty, so much need, but only in each other can we find hope. Wednesday 12th August Some of our team carrying out home visits today as we provide families with financial assistance. Prior to last weeks explosion, half of Lebanon’s population was already in poverty, the Lebanese currency had devalued by 80%, and the cost of food had increased dramatically. Estimates suggest that 75% of the population could lack basic food security by the end of the year. Lebanon was a country already in an economic crisis, then came the events that shook the nation last Tuesday. This is why we are urgently responding with financial aid to families whose needs just became even more severe….Like the three families we met with today who are living under one roof, or the Syrian refugee families we visited. Or those whose material needs are eclipsed by missing loved ones, like the Father who works at the Port and still has friends missing… There is still so much need. Please continue to journey with us as we reach out to these families. Monday 10th August Today the Lebanese Prime Minister and the entire government stepped down, this comes after an eruption of protests in Beirut as people show their anger following Tuesdays explosion. Lebanon is at a cross-roads and where things go from here remains uncertain… Yet in the midst of this there is a unity of action to be found on Lebanon’s streets. This is Mohamad and his son Abed El Hadi who attends our Play For Peace project in Bourj Hammoud. Together they have been out cleaning up the streets of the capital. Mohamed says ‘We are one hand despite who we are – Druze, Christian, Sunni, Shia… – even coming from all different backgrounds we are taking to the streets. This generation doesn’t want sectarianism…this is who we are, this is Lebanon, and Lebanon will be rebuilt again…’ As Lebanon only becomes more vulnerable, you’re supporting people like Mohamed and his son as they begin to rebuild, clinging to a hope that flourishes amidst the diversity of Lebanon’s communities. Sunday 9th August FFRL Director Ramy Taleb was on BBC Radio Ulster today talking about the situation in Beirut. Listen back here from around 7 minutes in: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000llq8fbclid=IwAR205hARzFyTRkPTPAaD7nySdKjC8v9lGucYrKtfakZjQFIvYyvmtvSOGew Friday 7th August Today with the DYC Youth from Saida we began clearing up damage to family homes, community centres and churches in Beirut. The scale of the damage is huge, with losses estimated between $10 – $15 billion. The situation is complex. They are still pulling bodies from the rubble, people are taking to the streets again in protest, and there are fears of another Corona Virus outbreak. BUT it’s scenes like this today that are at least bringing some hope. Your support is making this possible. Please continue to give if you can. Thursday 6th August Thank you for continuing to show up for those in Beirut. For those who have lost loved ones. For those who are injured. For those who are missing. For those who have lost their homes. For those who are out of a job because their place of work was destroyed. For those who – already in the wake of a dire economic crisis – have now been completely tipped over the edge and can’t afford to keep a roof over their head or provide for their families. Numbers are still increasing but the death toll currently stands at at least 137 people, with over 5000 injured and many still missing. It is estimated that up to 300,000 people are displaced and 50% of the city is damaged. Thank you for for joining with us. Please continue your support and allow us to continue to respond. Wednesday 5th August Thank you for joining with us and responding to the disaster in Beirut. We spent yesterday visiting families in Bourj Hammoud…we listened, we wept, we began to rebuild. As a result of Lebanon’s ongoing economic crisis, many of these families were in need of assistance even before yesterdays explosion. Please continue to support if you can. Lebanon has always been a country of great resilience, but when is enough, enough? Tuesday 4th August Today was a devastating day for Lebanon as a huge explosion shook Beirut, with atleast 73 confirmed dead and thousands more injured. Families from our Play For Peace project live in Bourj Hammoud, a suburb located just a 1km or so away from the port of Beirut where the explosion took place. These families are now in desperate need of support for medical and general humanitarian assistance. Please consider supporting via the donation link below. We will keep you updated as things develop. Please keep us and all of Lebanon in your hearts and minds.