09/02/2020, 14.57
LEBANON
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Caritas: from shock to crisis, the emergency continues

Fr Paul Karam talks about the difficulties that followed the tragedy and devastation caused by the explosions of 4 August. Families are still mourning, in need of psychological support. From homes to businesses, reconstruction is the priority. Pope Francis expressed his closeness. AsiaNews continues its campaign to "Help devastated Beirut".

Beirut (AsiaNews) – The Lebanese "are coming out of a phase of shock" caused by the explosions in Beirut in early August, only to plunge in a series of "crises, mourning the victims of the country’s economic and social morass, said Fr Paul Karam, president of Caritas Lebanon.

The head of the Catholic charity spoke to AsiaNews a month after the tragic blasts that hit the capital leaving 200 people dead, 7,000 injured, and at least 300,000 displaced.

Today at the general audience, Pope Francis announced that Friday would be a world day of fasting and prayer for Lebanon, noting that it "cannot be abandoned in its solitude ".

The pontiff remains very concerned about the country’s fate as well as its deep political, economic and social crises, made worse by the novel coronavirus pandemic

Fr Karam notes that families are still in the mourning phase, trying to come to terms with their losses. “Minds are still on the loved one who is no more, on the house that was destroyed," he explained. “Pain and problems vary. A family may have lost their home, but they are whole, grateful to God that they are all still alive, despite devastation and material losses.”

For the Caritas president, after a month "the magnitude of the tragic events and the depth of the crisis are still sinking: lost homes, vanished businesses, schools closed”.

Over the past few weeks, the Catholic charity “has continued to hand out food, medicine, basic necessities as well as provide psychological support to the families of the victims,” he added. “Now the goal is to rebuild homes, especially for those of the poorest people, at least 3,000, but the number could increase in the future.”

At present, people are still trying to grasp the scale of the disaster and its effects on people's lives. “This is why it is even more important to find a home for those who have lost theirs, help jumpstart the economy, and work for those who have lost everything amid rising poverty.”

Renewing the appeal made right after the explosions, the clergyman stressed that “there are still many needs and the crisis that lays ahead of us is great" amid existing social, economic, political and institutional problems, not to mention the health emergency.

“If you can, continue to help us, especially the poorest and the new poor. It is necessary to help them restart economically and, at the same time, psychologically accompany the families affected.

“It will be a long haul; the recovery will be slow given the thousands of injured, the hundreds of mutilated, and all those have suffered permanent physical and psychological damage. Do not leave us alone!”

In order to help the people of Beirut and Lebanon, as well as Caritas Lebanon, AsiaNews is launching a campaign to ‘Help devastated Beirut’. Those who want to contribute can make a donation to:

PIME Foundation:

- International Bank Account Number (IBAN): IT78C0306909606100000169898

- Bank Identifier Code (BIC): BCITITMM

- Reason for transfer: AN04 – HELP DEVASTATED BEIRUT

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