Editor's note: This is an evolving story. Please see our updated news release here. Below is the original story published shortly after the blast.
The city of Beirut, Lebanon, is in crisis. The August 4 explosion took many lives and flattened an entire portion of the city. Thousands of our neighbors are injured, 300,000 are homeless and hospitals are so overwhelmed they are turning people away. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting Lebanon hard.
As our team works around the clock to organize Lutheran World Relief’s humanitarian response, we give thanks that all of our staff and partners in Beirut survived the blast. Though some are recovering from injuries and the loss of their homes, we are thankful. Still, we cry out, asking why such a tragedy would happen in a time and place fraught with so many other trials.
And then we ask what we can do to love our neighbors through this crisis.
A tragic loss of supplies for vulnerable families
Your love is well-known in Lebanon, reaching poor Lebanese families and large populations of Syrian and Palestinian refugees as they struggle to overcome the country’s ongoing economic crisis. Thank you for taking action to care for them in their time of need.
Unfortunately, this disaster created a setback for our programs. The blast destroyed three of our 40-foot shipping containers, which were stored in the port and held more than 22,000 LWR Mission Quilts, 100 cartons of School Kits, 300 cartons of Personal Care Kits and 125 cartons of Baby Care Kits that were being prepared for distribution. Now an estimated 24,550 men, women and children who were already in great need will not receive these essential supplies.
The total monetary value of this loss is more than $623,000. Yet the value of the time and love our quilters and kit-makers put into sewing, assembling and praying over these items is impossible to calculate. Though this loss is small compared to any loss of life, we are devastated that our neighbors who were already struggling — and who need these items now more than ever — will suffer even more without them.
"This loss could mean a more bitter winter for thousands of refugees," said Melanie Gibbons, LWR’s deputy director for outreach and engagement. "Our quilts are made with love by those who painstakingly craft them, and they’re deeply appreciated by the people in distress who receive them, both for the warmth and the message of care they provide."
Will you take action to love our neighbors in Lebanon?
Even in times of trial, we know that love never fails. Will you share that love with your neighbors by helping us to replenish these lost items as quickly as possible?
There are multiple ways to help:
Make quilts and kits. Every quilt you sew or kit you assemble is a gift of love, just when someone needs it most.
Support our humanitarian response. Your financial gift to our World of Good emergency response fund will be a lifeline to families living through this crisis. You’ll provide food and shelter for desperate families in Beirut, and help us get quilts and kits into the hands that need them in Lebanon. Please give what you can today.