Lebanon crisis: SA Muslim charities at the forefront of disaster relief

Al Qalam Correspondent

Islamic Relief has pledged R87 million in emergency funding to help the people of Lebanon recover from the huge explosion in Beirut recently and to support those worst affected – many of whom have lost everything.

The explosion has exacerbated the already severe economic crisis in the country. For months many Lebanese families were struggling to survive as the Lebanese currency value dropped, and the unemployment rate passed 30%. Said Nidal Ali, Islamic Relief’s Country Director in Lebanon expresses how profoundly the disaster is affecting communities on the ground:

“Our main goal right now is to provide food and water to those who need it urgently. We started distributing ready-to-eat meals, essential non-food items, hygiene kits and health assistance. Our team was on the ground yesterday clearing the roads with volunteer groups and other aid organisations, as well as many ordinary residents just doing what they can.”

The funds pledged by the global Islamic Relief family will fund several projects. Islamic Relief Lebanon is aiming to provide 7,500 people with food parcels for the next two months as well as non-food items such as lamps, fans, hygiene kits, tarpaulins and blankets for 10,000 people.

“The explosion will have a long-term impact on the entire country,” says Naser Haghamed, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide. “We are working on plans to address longer-term development needs in Lebanon, including rehabilitation and livelihoods support that will aid the recovery of the Lebanese people and tackle the ongoing economic crisis and coronavirus outbreak.”

Yusuf Mohamed, CEO of Islamic Relief South Africa, said: “This horrific incident could not have occurred at a worse time when communities were already suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the economic deterioration in Lebanon. Even before the Beirut explosion, thousands of families have been struggling to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and to put food on the table, with 50% of the Lebanese population living below the poverty line”.

He added, “I wish to thank the many South Africans who swiftly and generously donated to our emergency appeal over these past few days. The people of Lebanon will need our continued support in the difficult weeks and months ahead, so we are appealing to all who are able to donate to do so. Lebanon needs us now more than ever.”

Africa Muslims Agency

Meanwhile, Africa Muslims Agency, which has been working in Lebanon for the past three and a half years on various projects, swung into action, soon after the blast to provide food and water to thousands of displaced people.

A spokesperson said: “The immediate needs were food and water as wells as mobile clinics as the hospitals did not have the capacity to accept the wounded. So a mobile clinic was very necessary. Africa Muslims Agency provided a mobile clinic immediately which brought much needed medical help to people who were being found under rubble in their homes.

“Subsequent to that, Africa Muslims Agency is supporting four Hospitals with medical equipment and medicine. We are also supporting thousands of people with food (hot meals), water and mobile kitchen.”

Over 300 000 thousand people in Beirut have been displaced overnight and the need is great. We have full teams on the ground in Beirut. Africa Muslims Agency is also helping families to rebuild. Africa Muslims Agency will continue with its relief efforts on the ground in Beirut in our efforts to ensure that the Lebanese people stand strong once again.

Apart from the urgent emergency Aid efforts that are already underway, 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. Sponsor R2000 that includes water, food for a family for a month as well as medical supplies or any amount.

Visit / Donate @ www.africamuslimsagency.co.za or visit our social media pages for Live coverage and feedback.

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