Humanitarian aid for refugees, feared destroyed in Beirut explosion, found intact

  • John Rivera
  • Sep 24, 2020

BALTIMORE, Sept. 24, 2020 — Three 40-foot shipping containers filled with humanitarian aid that included thousands of handmade quilts and baby-care items, which were reported as destroyed in the August 4 explosions at the port of Beirut, Lebanon, have been found intact and are ready to be distributed victims of the blast and refugees.

Authorities assumed the containers were lost in the historic blast that killed more than 200 people and laid waste to parts of the city. It took several weeks for longtime Lutheran World Relief partner Anera to gain access to the port, locate the containers and check their contents.

While other Anera shipping containers were heavily damaged, the three containers of quilts and kits were apparently stored behind a concrete block building that helped spare them from the blast. A fourth container, which was on a ship offshore when the explosion occurred, has since been delivered.

The contents of all four containers have been transferred to a warehouse and will be distributed to families displaced by the explosion, as well as to refugees living in Lebanon, principally from Syria and the Palestinian territories.

Anera provides humanitarian assistance and sustainable development to advance the well-being of refugees and other vulnerable communities in the Middle East. Its representatives took this video of the remarkably intact boxes of aid.

“It’s been a roller coaster for all of us, and especially our quilters and kit-makers,” said Melanie Gibbons, deputy director for outreach and engagement at Lutheran World Relief.  “First, grief over the loss of items so carefully made and prayed over, followed by determination to keep quilting and making kits. Then joy over the news that the items not only survived but are able to be distributed!

“It’s an incredible blessing to realize that now these items are in exactly the right place at the right time,” she said.

In addition to distributing the quilts and kits, Lutheran World Relief is also working to address immense shelter needs in the wake of the explosion, helping poorer families to repair and return to their homes. 


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Donate by Mail: Lutheran World Relief, PO Box 17061, Baltimore, MD  21297-1061

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Founded in 1945, Lutheran World Relief collaborates with local partners to grow inclusive and climate resilient rural economies, reduce poverty, and respond to emergencies and humanitarian crises. Lutheran World Relief works in concert with Corus International, an ensemble of faith-based organizations working together in the world’s most fragile settings to deliver the holistic, lasting solutions needed to overcome the interconnected challenges of poverty, health care access and climate change. 






John Rivera, Sep 24, 2020 email