Lebanon in Crisis: Facing the Long Road Back

From The Tablet, the diocesan newspaper of Brooklyn:

Catholic organizations are pitching in to help the people of Lebanon rebuild their fragile nation following the 4 August explosion in the port of Beirut that killed more than 180, injured thousands, and left 300,000 displaced from their homes.

The Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn has helped to raise almost $800,000 for relief efforts, according to Bishop Gregory Mansour. The eparchy is encouraging donors to send money to organizations such as Caritas Lebanon, a non-profit group working on the ground to provide food, clothing, and shelter to victims.

“This is an emergency,” Bishop Mansour told the Tablet.

Bishop Mansour said he was heartened by stories of generosity amid the devastation. 

“People have taken relatives, even total strangers, into their homes,” he said.

The Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) is working on several relief projects. Darine Tawk, who is the on-site coordinator for CNEWA, said most of the debris from the explosion has been cleared from the streets thanks to a joint effort by government workers, the Lebanese Army, non-profit groups, and volunteers.

“We are starting this week with a distribution of 5,000 food packages in the affected areas through a joint venture project with Caritas funded by Aid to the Church in Need,” Tawk told The Tablet. “This will be followed by another food distribution next month with funds provided by CNEWA and later with other expected funds to come.” 

CNEWA is also working with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a group that has seven centers in Beirut staffed by more than 200 volunteers.

“Another project that we are currently implementing is through reaching the most vulnerable, poor and highly affected people, supporting them in making their home habitable again by closing the damaged outer shell of the house,” Tawk added, “whether it is through the replacement of smashed windows and doors with new aluminum frames and glass, fixing the existing wooden windows and doors — if that is still possible — or even closing some holes in the outer masonry walls of the apartments where necessary.”

The volunteers are screening damaged homes and gathering details so rebuilding efforts can be prioritized. A committee for home restoration has been established that includes engineers and representatives of St. Vincent de Paul and CNEWA.

Read more about efforts to help Lebanon.

And visit this page for more about what CNEWA is doing, and how you can help.

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