Durban – South African humanitarian relief organisation Gift of the Givers has stepped in to assist the people of Beirut in Lebanon following the massive explosion that killed 170 people, injured 6 000 and displaced more than 300 000 last week.
The relief organisation partnered with Beirut social development agency Ghirass to provide aid.
According to the Lebanon government, the explosion was caused by more than 2 700 tons of ammonium nitrate which was stored in a warehouse in the port.
The explosion, which ripped through Beirut, left a trail of destruction in a city already in the midst of an economic crisis as well as the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Gift of the Givers founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman said the intervention would be facilitated by Ghirass, which would oversee the purchase and distribution of food, water, blankets, clothing and medical supplies.
Three days after the explosion, Sooliman said R1 million had been transferred to be used for rental accommodation to house displaced people whose homes were destroyed by the explosion.
In addition, Sooliman said it would be a “generous compassionate gesture” to support families whose breadwinners perished in the tragedy.
Sooliman said the number of people being assisted was very modest for now as movement was not easy.
“Deliveries are door to door as many people feel shy to collect in public since they have never been in a position to receive handouts.”
He said there was a huge need for aid and help.
“In the first week, they requested assistance with search and rescue teams. Requests are multiplying for food assistance, but a greater request is for accommodation.”
Sooliman said with hundreds of thousands of homes destroyed, the anxiety levels regarding accommodation were very high. He said the Gift of the Givers would be transferring more funds as contributions came in.
To contribute, visit www.giftofthegivers.org