In early August 2020, multiple explosions rocked Beirut’s port, causing substantial damage to homes and health care facilities. It is estimated that the blast left 300,000 people homeless, including 80,000 children.
Ninety-year-old Hagop and his 80-year-old sister, Anaheed, still clearly recall the moment the explosions happened. The blast shook their entire apartment and threw Anaheed in the air, injuring her back, legs and head.
When the explosions hit, it completely damaged Hagop and Anaheed’s home, destroying their windows, doors and furniture. Fearing that their apartment might get robbed, the duo slept on the floor in the debris for three whole days.
Before the damaging explosions, Lebanon was already facing an economic crisis. COVID-19 only made the situation worse—many lost their jobs, making it difficult to access food and health care.
In response, PWS&D, with partners at Canadian Foodgrains Bank and ACT Alliance, provided vital food and non-food-aid, such as help with the clean-up efforts. Assistance will continue for months as people get their lives back together.
Hagop and his sister were able to get the windows and doors of their apartment fixed. Their apartment building is being repaired.
“The church has given us vouchers, that we used to buy food from the supermarket. They were also so kind as to give us a new refrigerator and a new oven, since ours were not working anymore since the explosions. Some people from the church are also cooking for us every day and bringing us hot meals to eat.”
While there is more work to be done as the pair continue rebuilding their lives, Hagop reflects, “still, we are thankful, because God protected us! Our faith is helping us a lot in this difficult time… When I struggle walking, I pray for God to carry me through some more steps. We pray we can walk normally again soon and not need assistance anymore.”
Thanks to the generosity of Presbyterians across Canada, $163,269 was raised to aid in the Lebanon relief efforts. These funds allowed PWS&D to provide vouchers for families to purchase the food they need and vouchers for small businesses to buy materials to start rebuilding. Additionally, funds have assisted in the restoration of damaged homes and schools, and the provision of water and sanitation kits for households and emergency school kits for boys and girls for their return to school.
Your continuous support is helping many vulnerable family’s journey through an incredibly challenging time until they are able to walk without assistance once again.
*This story was first printed in the Spring 2021 issue of Presbyterian Connection newspaper.