A week ago a terrible explosion brought destruction and death to Beirut. The President of the Order of Malta’s Lebanese Association, Marwan Sehnaoui, wrote a letter of appeal, which is not only a cry of grief for the battered Lebanon, but also describes the activities carried out in support of the population. We report it in full below.
Beirut, Tuesday the 11th of August 2020
One week after the apocalypse,
One week after the earthquake, the lightning and the massive explosion,
One week after the sounds of glass shattering, roofs, walls and doors blowing, people screaming and children crying,
One week after the smell of smoke and toxic gas,
One week after the loss of loved ones,
Here we are, in the middle of a heartbroken city and an ever-wounded country.
A country that has been suffering on-going wars and crisis, since the Sovereign Order of Malta started its official diplomatic relations in 1955.
All through the civil war, the Israeli occupation, the Syrian occupation, the 2006 war with Israel and the Syrian refugees’ crisis since 2011, the Lebanese Association has been relentlessly and, in all humility, serving the most vulnerable population of all denominations all over the Lebanese territory in the most remote and forgotten areas, with a unique agenda of respecting the dignity of every suffering person.
Today my country is bleeding, not only from the explosion but from 30 years of corruption, clientelism and mismanagement that have led to the severe economic, financial, social and sanitary crisis, toppled by the Covid19 pandemic.
My fellow citizens are sick, hungry and in despair, they are hostages of a dysfunctional system in their own country.
Our mission is to keep giving the hope by serving and caring for each person who needs our help, always with a smile and a gentle hand.
Our mission is to give them the strength to fight and remain in this holy land as we still believe in Lebanon, the message of Saint John Paul II. Today more than ever, after witnessing the unity of its people and the amazing will and dedication of its youth.
One week after the blast, 300,000 houses have been destroyed, 7,000 persons have been wounded and more than 171 have died. Our association has already mobilized its troops and adapted its services to respond to the aftermath by providing free healthcare services to the most impacted areas as 12 Primary health care centers, 5 major hospitals and the main state drugs warehouse were severely damaged. We opened our center in Chabrouh to welcome, in full accommodation free of charge, families whose houses have been shattered and who need more than a shelter, a peaceful home to heal their hearts and souls.
More than 300 Youth volunteers are on the field every day, cleaning houses, providing ready-to-eat food and meals, evaluating damages in certain dedicated areas for refurbishment.
A team of experts from Malteser International and the Pierre Fabre Foundation are currently assessing the needs that will determine the next steps we will undertake for a long and sustainable recovery.
In the meantime, our 10 primary healthcare centers, 6 mobile medical units and all our other projects dedicated to the vulnerable, the sick, the elderly and the differently-abled persons, are still very much active as the crisis deepens all over the country and the needs keep growing by the day.
You have been many to call, to write and to message us, inquiring about our safety and asking for ways to help, we can never thank you enough!
Faith, Fraternity and Love will save this world.
Today, one week after the blast, we ask you to keep Lebanon in your thoughts and prayers and if you wish to donate, you will find in annex the different options that will facilitate the process.
For those who wish to help, all donation details are available on the website of the Lebanese Association of the Order of Malta:
Donations can also be made through the following websites:
The Global Fund for Forgotten People:
Donations can also be done through the Premier secours de l’Ordre de Malte Luxembourg: