COVENANT OF SOLIDARITY, Editorial Staff •
The immense explosion that occurred this Tuesday, August 4th, in Beirut, Lebanon, continues to reveal alarming figures. More than 100 people were killed and more than 4,000 injured, according to the health minister. The incident was so strong that it was felt in Cyprus, hundreds of kilometers away, and caused a telluric movement of magnitude 3.3 in the Lebanese capital. But a solidarity movement was also noticed. And we want to be part of it, in covenant of solidarity with the people of Lebanon, where several Pilgrim MTA’s go around the houses of Christians and where there are also home shrines. —
At the end of the general audience, the first after the summer break, Pope Francis called us all to pray for the victims of the explosion in the port of Beirut:
“Yesterday in Beirut, in the port area, huge explosions caused dozens of deaths and thousands of wounded, and much serious destruction. We pray for the victims and their families; and we pray for Lebanon, with the commitment of all its social, political and religious components, to be able to face this tragic and painful moment and, with the help of the international community, to overcome the serious crisis it is going through.
Several bishops’ conferences sent out greetings of solidarity and promised help, as did several heads of state. The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land expressed its solidarity and support for Lebanon after the explosion in the port of Beirut: “The Church in the Holy Land prays for Lebanon and expresses solidarity to its citizens. We follow with great concern and pain the explosion that hit the port of Beirut yesterday afternoon, especially the reports of dozens of deaths and thousands of wounded”.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed support for the victims of the explosion. “The European Union expresses its full solidarity and support to the families of the victims, the Lebanese people and the authorities following the violent explosions that hit Beirut on this day,” Borrell said on his official Twitter account.
EU Council President Charles Michel also said on Twitter that his thoughts are “with the people of Lebanon and the families of the victims of the tragic explosion in Beirut”. “The EU stands ready to provide assistance and support. Stay strong,” He added.
On Wednesday evening, the Tel Aviv City Hall in front of Rabin Square was lit up with the Lebanese flag, in a message of solidarity with the neighboring country for the tragic explosion that has so far caused 135 deaths and nearly 5,000 injured in Beirut. “Humanity comes before any conflict, and our heart goes out to the Lebanese people after the terrible disaster that befell them,” said Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.
Hands on solidarity work
The local Focolare community, together with the Association “Humanité Nouvelle”, has set to work to meet the most urgent needs of the people affected by the disaster. With the help of the local community of the Movement, the Mariápolis Centre “La Sorgente” in the town of Ain Aar, near Beirut, has been made available to all those who have lost their homes. Groups of young people and adults have shown themselves available to help the families and people most affected, and have informed of the needs of all kinds: food, material for cleaning houses and dwellings in general.
The Emergency Coordination of the Focolare Movement has been activated and will intervene through the AMU and AFN organizations. For those who wish to collaborate, the following bank accounts have been activated
Azione per un Mondo Unito ONLUS (AMU)
IBAN: IT58 S050 1803 2000 0001 1204 344
SWIFT/BIC code: CCRTIT2T
in Banca Popolare Etica
Action for New Families ONLUS (AFN)
SWIFT/BIC code: BCITITMM
at Banca Intesa San Paolo
“Beirut, Lebanon, is beautiful. Unfortunately, yesterday’s explosion left 300,000 people homeless, just like in Hiroshima. There may not be much we can do, but at least let’s pray for Lebanon,” reads one Twitter account. Yes, let’s pray for Beirut, let’s pray for Lebanon, let’s pray for this people who have been hit by the war, the coronavirus, and now this explosion.
The country has stopped and we are living a nightmare
“It is a terrible and disastrous situation and we are now in the midst of total confusion,” Rita Rhayem, director of Caritas Lebanon, whose staff have taken immediate steps to help those affected by the blast, told Caritas Internationalis.
“The situation is critical and this is the first time we have faced an emergency of this magnitude, but we are not stopping and moving forward to help all the people in difficulty,” she said. “There are many dead and many injured, and from a health point of view, the situation is likely to worsen rapidly due to the effects of the toxic gases. Caritas Lebanon is preparing for this eventuality, but our health centers do not have the means to cope with it and rescue operations are made even more difficult by the lack of electricity”.
“The country has stopped and we are living a nightmare”, – says Caritas Lebanon President Fr. Michel Abboud – “We have nothing to help the population. Beirut is devastated and we are totally overwhelmed by the magnitude of the events”.
“Our volunteers have immediately mobilized to locate and help the injured, who are being taken to our primary care centers, although unfortunately they are already overflowing and incredibly crowded, as well as the hospitals. Everything is lacking, including food to sustain the affected population”, says Rita Rhayem.
The explosions have caused further damage to a Lebanon that was already on its knees due to the economic and political crisis, the violence, the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequences of the economic sanctions imposed on Syria,” said Aloysius John, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis. “We must not forget how much the effects of economic sanctions and violence have weakened this country and are hitting Lebanon hard as it also faces a serious food crisis today”. Aloysius John urged “the international community to intervene urgently and unconditionally to help the people and to act decisively to alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese by lifting the economic sanctions immediately.
For more information on the Caritas appeal -> https://www.caritas.org/donation/lebanon-appeal
There’s not much we can do. Or? We can pray, we can contribute to the capital of grace, and invite others to do the same.
With Fides’ material
Original: Spanish 2020-08-06, translated by Maria Aragón, Monterrey, México.