Local NGOS provide aid to Beirut
SOUTH African humanitarian and disaster relief organisations are providing aid to victims of the
A massive explosion devastated parts of Lebanon’s capital city last week and left more than 200 people dead and more than 300 000 people homeless. The blast was caused by the detonation of 2 750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at the port for years.
Africa Muslim Agency (AMA) and the Gift of the Givers Foundation have reached out by providing financial and relief aid as well as on the ground assistance.
Hussain Choonara, AMA regional manager for Kwazulu-natal and Western Cape, said they had been working in Lebanon for the past five years on various projects in various parts of Lebanon.
“When the explosions happened, we had teams on the ground in Beirut immediately working 24/7 to provide food and water to thousands of displaced people.
“The immediate needs were food and water as well as mobile clinics as the hospitals did not have the capacity to accept the wounded. We provided a mobile clinic immediately, which provided medical help to people who were found under rubble in their homes,” said Choonara.
He said the agency was supporting three hospitals with medical equipment and medicine.
“Apart from the urgent emergency aid efforts that are already under way, the AMA teams are assessing strategic sustainable empowerment projects. This to assist already identified families who have suffered the worst devastation in rebuilding and getting back to a form of normality and sustainability.
“We encourage the community to continue to support this Emergency#heallebanon campaign by sponsoring R2 000 to provide water, food and medical supplies for a family for a month or any amount,” said Choonara.
The Gift of the Givers Foundation donated R1 million last Friday for relief aid.
Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the NGO, said their intervention in Beirut is being facilitated by social development agency Ghirass who will assist in the purchase and distribution of food, water, blankets, clothing and medical supplies with the initial R1 million.
He said no search and rescue and medical teams flew to Lebanon because its paramedics and front-line medical professionals were needed with fellow health-care workers to assist in the fight against Covid-19 in South Africa.
“That doesn’t mean that we can’t assist humankind in distress in other parts of the world. Gift of the Givers has partner networks globally to increase the speed of disaster intervention where calls are made for international assistance. Having assisted Lebanon in 2006, we have a ‘feel’ of the environment,” he said.