Beirut Disaster: In Context



The explosion in Beirut   


The massive explosion that ripped through Beirut on Tuesday 4 August was felt as far away as Cyprus.   

At the time of writing (6/8/2020), at least 135 people have been reported dead, more than 5,000 injured (with many more still missing), and an estimated 300,000 people have had to evacuate their homes.   

The explosion destroyed three hospitals and severely damaged others, including the clinic run by one of our partnersSilos containing approximately 80% of Lebanon's grain reserves were completely destroyed, guaranteeing food shortages. 


 The explosion could not have come at a worse time. Lebanon is home to more than 1.5 million refugees from Syria, Iraq and Palestine. Partly because of the strain of coping with such a huge number of refugees Lebanon’s economic problems have been building for years. The failure of successive governments to manage the economy came to a head in late 2019Today Lebanon ranks as the third most indebted country in the world. The currency has devalued over 80% in the past year resulting in hyperinflation, and unemployment continue to soar. It is increasingly difficult for families to put food on the table. 


Responding to the call of Christ to care for the marginalised, the local church and church affiliated organisations, including Embrace partners, have worked tirelessly for decades – often in the face of enormous challenges, including a 15 year civil war- to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable in Lebanon.   


 Embrace the Middle East?   

Embrace the Middle East is an ecumenical Christian charity with over 160 years’ experience working in the region and almost a hundred years in Lebanon 


 Embrace has longstanding relationships with 12 Lebanese Christian organisations. Our partners work with Lebanese families and Syrian and Palestinian refugees in the areas of primary healthcare, humanitarian assistance, education, livelihoods support and specialist disability services.  


We are in constant contact with our partners, all of whom thankfully are physically safe, but in a state of huge shock as the impact of the explosion unfolds. No-one has escaped untouched. 


In the midst of assessing the damage to their own buildings and projects, our partners are responding to the immense needs of the many affected by the explosion providing shelter, care and essential provisions, as you can see from this video produced by one of our partners in Lebanon, LSESD:


Lebanon needs our prayers right now but it also needs our financial support where we are able to give. Many of us want to give but it is not always obvious what is the best way to give.


In response to these immense needs Embrace has launched an appeal specifically for the work of our partners in Lebanon. The money we raise will go directly to the work of our partners in Lebanon as they seek to respond to the needs of those affected by these crises.  


If you wish to give please click below. 


Donate to Lebanon Crisis

A Prayer For Lebanon

God of compassion, healing and love

We pray for the people of Lebanon in the aftermath of Tuesday’s explosion.

We think of all those who have lost their lives and those who are still missing. We hold their dear ones before you as they face their fear, grief and loss.

We ask the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen all those on the front line of the disaster response. We pray for all Embrace’s partners in Beirut as they look to you, whilst putting their hands to the plough. We pray that they may be beacons of hope and bringers of peace and, that in the fullness of time, the people of Beirut may “flourish like a palm tree and grow like a Cedar of Lebanon” Amen. (Psalm 92)