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Photo Credit: Aid to the Church in Need
Photo Credit: Aid to the Church in Need
World News

'Healing needed at every level': Christian charity rushing aid to Lebanon in explosion aftermath

by Tola Mbakwe

A Christian charity is rushing an emergency food package worth £226,000 out to Beirut in the wake of the huge explosion.

The Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) grant will target poor families worst affected by the blast which devastated the port area of the Lebanese capital. 

John Pontifex from the charity told Premier Christian News the tragedy has affected the Christian area of the city the most. 

"We understand that the largest area that was affected by both the deaths and in terms of damage was the Christian area. So the bishops, the clergy, and the lay faithful asked us would we please offer some assistance," he said. 

"We are very aware that there'll be lots of Christian communities, churches and other buildings in that areas that will be so badly affected. We know that area is going to be need a lot of work done in terms of repair."

The blast, which killed at least 135 people and injured 4,000, was caused by nearly 3,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely in a warehouse.

According to calculations by British engineering experts, the explosion is "unquestionably" one of the largest non-nuclear blasts in history

ACN Lebanon expert Fr Samer Nassif, said that the Christian zone of Beirut was "completely devastated", with at least ten  churches destroyed, 300,000 people homeless and many others suffering, with livelihoods "destroyed" by the blast. 

He said: "In one second, more damage to the Christian quarter of Beirut was done than throughout the long years of the civil war. 

"We have to build it again from the ground up."

Local church leaders say after the long-running economic crisis and the coronavirus, Lebanon is ill-equipped to deal with the emergency and urgently needed international help for the people's basic needs.  

Lebanon's finance minister also said the country won't be able to recover from the devastating port explosion in Beirut without international aid.  

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the UK is offering humanitarian assistance worth up to £5 million, along with experts and a Royal Navy survey ship to help assess the damage caused to the city's port - the centre of the explosion.

Meanwhile, many residents have accused the government of corruption, neglect and mismanagement.

Pontifex added: "We call we should call on Jesus to… bring healing and to bring a sense of reconciliation  because in so many ways this particular explosion has drawn attention to the problems of government and accusations of neglect at the very least. 

"There's this whole sense of healing that's needed at every level and a chance to rebuild. So literally, the call should be, Lord, help us rebuild, help us recover, help us find a new way to get through this terrible, terrible time."

Listen to Premier's full interview with John Pontifex here: 

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