Lebanon (MNN) — “I’ve never seen Beirut like that,” says Wissam Nasrallah of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development. “Parts of the city lie in apocalyptic ruin.”
LSESD is located on the outskirts of the city of Beirut, where yesterday, a massive explosion crippled the port. The resulting shockwave shattered glass all across the city. The death toll has reached 137, with 4,000 wounded. Many more are still missing.
Countries all around the region and the world have pledged to help Lebanon deal with the aftermath of the explosion.
Nasrallah says, “Most staff are safe, thank God. We have minor injuries that were a result of the flying glass.”
We reported recently on Beirut Baptist School, a hub of inclusive education in Lebanon. Nasrallah made his way into the city on Wednesday to see what damage had been done to the school. “It’s around 3.5 miles from the explosion, and I can say most windows and doors have been shattered. The school is not in very good shape. ”
Nasrallah describes what he saw as he made his way through the city. “It looks like a war zone. The devastation is huge. The shockwave shattered windows. Buildings are collapsing. Balconies are blown away.”
“This calamity could not have come at a worse time for our country,” Nasrallah says. Lebanon already faced devastating economic problems and hopelessness. But this explosion destroyed the port through which Lebanon gets most of its food and supplies. As we reported yesterday, the country lost a significant amount of its wheat supply.
Nasrallah says, “All the wheat silos have been destroyed. Obviously, we are expecting some support from other countries. But there is the fear of food insecurity in the coming days and weeks.”
Medical supplies will be badly needed in Lebanon as well. Nasrallah says, “We’ve been having severe electricity shortages. Many hospitals are damaged. Some hospitals don’t have functioning generators anymore for electricity. From a medical standpoint, the situation is very critical.”
To make matters worse, Beirut expects a COVID-19 surge after the explosion. People have not been able to socially distance themselves in the aftermath of the catastrophe. Please pray for the people of Lebanon during this time of chaos and loss.
Nasrallah says, “Please also pray for the Church as it seeks to comfort and serve those who are dispersed and brokenhearted. Now is the time for God’s people to be present, to be salt and light, to be there for others, and share with them the hope we have in Christ.”
LSESD is trying to shelter some of the over 300,000 people that now find themselves without homes. ABTS is working to clear out its facilities and make them ready for people to stay in them. Nasrallah says, “At this stage, we’re trying to open our facilities and guest house and residences to accommodate the highest number of families possible.”
You can help the relief efforts in Beirut by clicking here.
The header image shows the aftermath of the explosion in Beirut. (Photo courtesy of Voice of America on Wikimedia Commons)