Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - More than 300,000 people have been displaced from their homes, thousands have been wounded and hundreds have died: this is the provisional toll caused by the explosion that took place on Tuesday, 4 August in the port of Beirut (see Fides, 5/8/2020). "It is a terrible and disastrous situation and today we are in total confusion", reports to Caritas Internationalis Rita Rhayem, director of Caritas Lebanon, whose staff immediately took action to help the people affected by the explosion.
"The situation is critical and this is the first time that we face an emergency of this magnitude, but we will not stop and will go forward to help all the people in difficulty", she underlines. "Many have died and been wounded, and from a health point of view the situation will likely deteriorate rapidly due to the effects of toxic gases. Caritas Lebanon is preparing for this possibility, but our health centers have no means to deal with such a situation and the rescue operations are made even more difficult due to the lack of electricity".
The note sent to Agenzia Fides reports that the Caritas Lebanon headquarters have also been seriously damaged by the explosion. According to local sources, the office had closed just before the explosion and therefore no one among the staff was injured.
"The country has stopped and we are experiencing a nightmare - says the president of Caritas Lebanon, Father Michel Abboud - We have nothing to help the population. Beirut is devastated and we are totally overwhelmed by the scale of events".
"Our volunteers immediately mobilized to locate and assist the injured, who are unfortunately already overwhelmed and incredibly crowded in our primary care centers, as well as hospitals. Everything is lacking, including food to support the affected population", stresses Rita Rhayem.
"The explosions caused further damage to a Lebanon already on its knees due to the economic and political crisis, violence, the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequences of the economic sanctions imposed on Syria - underlines 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 weighing heavily on Lebanon, which today must also face a serious food crisis". John urges "the international community to intervene urgently and unconditionally in order to help the population, so that they act decisively to alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese, by immediately removing the economic sanctions". (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 6/8/2020)