To help the people of Beirut, you can donate to the Lebanese Red Cross here.
Shocking images of a violent explosion flooded newsfeeds on Tuesday as the city of Beirut scrambled to recover from a devastating and fatal event. While its exact cause is unknown at this time, the explosion is allegedly attributed to a fire that detonated more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate stored near the city's cargo port, according to Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud.
This tragedy comes at a time when Lebanon is already on the brink of an economic collapse, with 75% of its population struggling to get food on the table.
In the wake of this horrific event, solidarity and support for the Lebanese people have arrived through commitments from world leaders, local organizations, health workers, and firefighters.
Here's a look at how local and global communities are stepping up to help the city of Beirut.
World Leaders Are Showing Support and Sending Help
In a tweet, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his solidarity with the Lebanese people and pledged to send rescuers and medical equipment to Beirut.
"I express my fraternal solidarity with the Lebanese people after the explosion which claimed so many victims and caused so much damage this evening in Beirut," Macron said. "France stands alongside Lebanon. And always will. French assistance and resources are on their way."
👉detachment of emergency services, emergency medical staff and a mobile medical unit, all made available by the Interior Ministry and allowing 500 injured people to be cared for. #Lebanon and Lebanese people know they can count on France at this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/wXYDJw9r2v— France Diplomacy🇫🇷 (@francediplo_EN) August 5, 2020
Two military planes left Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport on Wednesday with 55 search-and-rescue personnel on board.
Many other countries, such as the Netherlands, Israel, Iran, Kuwait, Qatar, and Jordan also offered search-and-rescue assistance, as well as to provide field hospitals to Lebanon. Others, including the US, Canada, Germany, Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates publicly expressed support and condolences for those lost and injured.
The UK announced a package of emergency support on Thursday, from the UK's aid budget — including the immediate deployment of search and rescue experts, emergency medical assistance, and £5 million (about $6.6 million) in emergency humanitarian funding to support those made homeless by the explosion.
Community-Based Relief Efforts Are Springing Into Action
As hospitals are overwhelmed and weakened by the COVID-19 crisis, relief organizations are stepping up to help.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed the importance of supporting Lebanese health workers in a tweet, and hundreds of people from Beirut are flocking to local hospitals to answer a call for blood donations from the Lebanese Red Cross.
Meanwhile, as the frantic search for survivors continues, an Instagram page has been set up to help locate victims.
Calls for donations have also intensified on social media with the creation of a website called "Lebanon Crisis," which provides essential resources and lists ways to help the city of Beirut. The link — widely shared by users across the country and abroad — also identifies shelters made available to the 300,000 people rendered homeless by the blast.
Local Heroes Are Stepping Up
Dozens of firefighters rushed to the scene of the explosion on Tuesday to extinguish the fire that followed and to rescue people from the rubble — sometimes putting their own lives at risk.
As of today, 10 of them are declared missing, according to Abboud. Lebanese authorities are monitoring the situation closely and carrying out search efforts across the city.
Before the enormous blast, there was a fire at #Beirut port. These firefighters rushed to the spot to extinguish the fire. But then the massive blast happened and everybody you see in this picture was killed. RIP heroes. 😢@akhbarpic.twitter.com/b1pZu1rdBb— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) August 5, 2020
"There was a fire, the [firefighters] came to put it out, then the explosion happened, and they went missing," Abboud told a reporter. "We are looking for them."
On Twitter, footage of an unnamed woman who rushed to save a child’s life as the explosion occurred has also moved many.
Everyone is sharing videos of today's deadly #BeirutBlast.— Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) August 4, 2020
Here's something else.
This is the exact moment a maid risked her own life to save a little child, just as the explosion occurred.
Heroes can be anywhere.pic.twitter.com/6Eq4q5Wt4G
Another heroic photo, showing a nurse cradling three babies she saved during the explosion, was captured in Beirut's Saint George Hospital University Medical Center. The photo has since then gone viral on social media, with many users thanking the woman for her efforts.
Disastrous events like the explosion in Beirut make accessing essential services like health care, water, food, and education difficult, and can lead to increased poverty.
To help the people of Beirut cope in the aftermath of this catastrophe, you can donate to the Lebanese Red Cross here.