On the first anniversary of the deadly explosion in the port of Beirut, the city is still struggling to cope with its wounds. Source: Aid to the Church in Need.
The explosion on August 4, 2020, devastated the port and the Christian quarters of the Lebanese capital, leaving more than 200 people dead and 6500 wounded.
Today has been decreed by the Lebanese Council of Ministers as a day of national mourning, with all work suspended in government administrations and public institutions, and large crowds will gather in the port of Beirut for a ceremony presided over by the Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Rai.
However, for the ordinary people, already overwhelmed by the profound crisis afflicting the country since October 2019 – a crisis caused by endemic corruption, decaying public infrastructure, and hospitals on the edge of collapse in the face of a continuing COVID-19 pandemic – there is still no light at the end of the tunnel.
Many hospital nurses have left to work abroad, and the same is true of many doctors, who have either left or are seeking to leave. Catholic school teachers, faced with a salary that is no longer enough to feed their families, are likewise resigning, hoping to emigrate.
The international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need is heavily committed to supporting the Lebanese people. ACN has invested $4.4 million in the reconstruction of pastoral infrastructure destroyed by the explosion, $3.6m in emergency relief aid, along with other aid for pastoral support, transport and basic subsistence – a total of more than $8m.