Table of Contents
The tragic news of the Beirut explosion soon reached our screens. But so much more needs to be done to ease this disaster.
Syria Relief, a charity formed and based in Manchester, has been helping attend to victims.
Peak District resident, Charles Lawley, is currently in Lebanon working with Syrian refugees in Beirut.
What is the situation in Lebanon?
On August 4th, two explosions took place at Beirut city port, killing 200 people. ‘300,000 people have been made homeless’, Lawley states, and ‘over 30 of the 200 people killed were Syrian refugees.
Before the blast, Lawley explains, Lebanon had been going through a huge economic crisis for eighteen months.
He summarises the economic crisis as so: ‘The banks have got money but they are not letting people withdraw it. So, even before this happened, people were struggling to make ends meet. They owned this money, but they just couldn’t get it’
So, in the wake of the blast, many Lebanese citizens have had their homes destroyed, can’t access their money, and are short of necessities such as food, water, and hygiene products. And of course, they are suffering from extreme trauma.
With thousands of people out of their homes, it is natural that the COVID pandemic is no longer the main concern in Beirut. But, of course, it is still spreading.
What has Syria Relief been doing to help?
A quarter of the population in Lebanon are refugees, around 1.5 – 1.7 million of whom are Syrian. Lawley mentions that there are a significant number of Palestinian refugees as well. Syria Relief was already working with this refugee population before the blast.
‘Food is a really big need’, Lawley confirms, as well as psycho-social support, and hygiene kits. He confirms that they are providing all of this support, and are also hoping to rehabilitate homes.
Many people are understandably traumatised by the events, he explains, so therapeutic support is needed alongside the necessary food and hygeine supplies.
With a second wave of COVID occurring in the country, it is necessary to keep people stocked up with as many hygeine products as possible.
How you can help
I asked Lawley about how we can all help Syria Relief from our homes in Manchester.
He replied that £25 worth of donations can feed a family of 5 for 12-15 days. Obviously, for someone who has lost their home and can’t access money, this can go a long way.
You can help Syria Relief by donating at syriarelief.org.uk or calling 01618 600163.
About Syria Relief
A group of Syrian doctors living in the UK formed Syria Relief in 2011. It was founded in response to the start of the Syrian conflict.
Lawley explains ‘we initially started to provide small-scale medical aid to people affected by the war’. However, he continued, ‘as the war went on, and revolution turned to civil war, the humanitarian catastrophe got bigger and bigger’.
He explains that Syria Relief runs 206 schools across Syria as well as a dozen hospitals and healthcare centers. providing food, water, shelter’. Now, as well as Syria, they support countries, such as Lebanon, who have a high population of Syrian refugees.
Now, Syria Relief is the largest Syrian focussed organisation in the UK.