Samaritan’s Purse is the latest disaster relief organization to send help to Beirut, Lebanon after half the city was damaged by an explosion. A DC-8 aircraft owned and operated by Samaritan has arrived in Beirut with a 13-member Disaster Assistance Response Team and 26 tons of desperately needed relief supplies. The cargo includes thousands of hygiene kits, solar lights, and hundreds of rolls of heavy-duty tarp material to make emergency repairs to homes and churches.
Beirut’s citizens are still reeling after a horrific explosion tore through the city on Tuesday, Aug. 4. The catastrophe killed more than 200 people with more bodies being discovered every day. In addition, it thousands thousands and left 300,000 homeless. A million Beirut citizens have taken to the streets in the last week to protest not only the government’s response but also against the terrorist group Hezbollah which has a strong grip on the nation.
“The explosion caused a crater that was over 400 feet in diameter, and damage was reported 20 kilometers away from the explosion. The blast generated the equivalent of a 3.5 magnitude earthquake in the area. We really need your prayers for those who have been affected,” stated Disaster Assistance Response Team member Bev Kauffeldt as she departed for the country.
Samaritan’s efforts join those of the American Red Cross, and dozens of countries sending humanitarian aid.
The United Nations said some $117 million will be needed over the next three months for health services, emergency shelter and food distribution.
Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham called on Christians to pray for the situation in the predominantly Muslim country. “The country and the people are devastated,” said Graham. “Please pray for the families who lost loved ones and those who have been most impacted by this horrible incident.”
Before the explosion, the Lebanese people were already suffering from a deep economic crisis and a soft civil war between Democratically elected leaders and Iranian proxy Hezbollah. The terrorist organization is believed to have 150,ooo Iranian and other missiles pointed at Israel and was stopped last week after it attempted to use tunnels to smuggle terrorist cells in to Israel from the north.
The news of the discovery of the tunnels by Israel took a back seat when the explosion occurred. Experts believe, however, that the explosion was caused by bomb-making chemicals that had been stored in Beirut’s port. While also used for fertilizer, the amount of chemicals far exceed what a country the size of Lebanon could ever use for agricultural purposes.
The explosion, say witnesses, looked like old atomic bomb films from the 50s. The blast was heard as far away as Cypress in the middle of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
“It’s just devastating. It’s completely unfathomable. We’ve never had anything like this before even in the civil war [1975-1990] in Lebanon,” said our Beirut church partner.*
He asked that we pray for the Light of Christ to shine through his church members as they assist and for wisdom for those who are leading the effort on the ground.
A virtual aid conference held Sunday was attended by nearly 30 countries as well as the EU and Arab League.
– The European Commission added another $35.4 million to the 33 million already announced. “As needs rise we are providing humanitarian support to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people,” commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarcic said in a statement.
– Qatar has flown in field hospitals and medical aid, and on Sunday its ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani pledged emergency aid of $50 million. He said funding towards “the reconstruction of Beirut” would be announced soon.
– Kuwait pledged some $40 million.
– US President Donald Trump said Washington “stands ready and willing to continue providing aid to help the people of Lebanon in their recovery.” The White House statement did not provide figures, but the government has announced $15 million so far.
– Britain on Sunday pledged 20 million pounds ($26 million) in addition to five million pounds already announced for emergency aid, notably through the British Red Cross. London has sent a medical team and humanitarian aid experts, and the Royal Navy ship the HMS Enterprise is reportedly on its way.
Samaritan is one of several Christian organizations offering assistance. They are working with a longtime church partner in the area, we will distribute relief supplies and evaluate how we can best serve those who are hurting.
To donate visit their website.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice