Beirut Blast Emergency Relief Program

Loubnaniyoun – Beirut Blast

Beirut Blast Response by Loubnaniyoun Team


On August 4, 2020 a major explosion occurred at the port of Beirut. This explosion was extremely powerful and it shook the whole world. All eyes were on us, and everyone across the globe watched in awe. When the first images and videos of the explosion emerged on social media, people believed that the Lebanese capital was subjected to a nuclear explosion.

The explosion killed more than 200 people and injured more than 6000. Also, many people went missing for days post the blast. The cause of the blast was attributed to tons of ammonium nitrate that were randomly stored in the port warehouses.

The August 4 explosion left 300,000 people homeless and caused $15 billion in direct damage, as per the report issued by the presidency of the council of ministers. 50,000 houses, nine major hospitals and 178 schools had been damaged.

The explosion comes at a time when Lebanon is facing numerous concurrent crises, including a serious economic/political crisis, in addition to a dangerous increase in Covid-19 cases. In light of this unbreakable chain of devastating events, we transformed into a traumatized nation, suffering from a collective trauma, and bearing so many invisible wounds and scars.

Amidst the total absence of governmental support in the wake of the fatal explosion, charities, civil society organizations and volunteers have stepped up in the devastated Beirut and the joyful city which once was bustling with pubs and bars transformed to a huge NGO tent with people assisting each other and providing medical care, food and clothing.

Since Loubnaniyoun main objective is to implement interventions in the society using a participatory approach through tackling humanitarian and social issues, the organization was one of the first responders to the blast. The second day after the explosion Loubnaniyoun’s team took the streets.

People’s Needs Post the Blast:

This explosion of earthquake magnitude left many people in dire needs:

  • Shelters: houses suffered substantial damage post the explosion. Entire sections of Beirut were completely destroyed and official authorities state that the blast could cost $10B in terms of property damage.
  • Trauma: people especially children, need urgent help to cope with this traumatic event. Beirut residents of all ages witnessed one of many of the following tragedies: home destruction, death of loved ones and/or hospitalization of family members and friends.
  • Health & Medicines: health facilities and hospitals require urgent support. The access to medical care became extremely hard seen that the healthcare system is already facing notable obstacles. Also, medications have not been available in Lebanese pharmacies, especially chronic diseases medicines
  • Food Security: People need support to be able too buy and afford basic food products as the wheat silos were destroyed and the Lebanese pound lost 80% of its value due to the ongoing economic crisis.
  • Schools & the Education Sector: many schools suffered from substantial damage as well, and many children need urgent support to be able to continue home-schooling. Many families cannot afford to buy devices for online sessions such as computers, laptops and iPad. Also, some families do not have access to the internet.

How is Loubnaniyoun Responding to the Needs:

Firstly, Loubnaniyoun NGO launched an emergency response a day post the explosion. We mobilized our team and we operated in the front lines. Believing in the power of volunteerism and believing that an organization cannot provide full services at the time of disasters without the presence of volunteer citizens with local knowledge who can provide valuable assistance, we launched a call for volunteers. Our emergency response team was formed of skilled volunteers who invested their time as specialists, mental health professionals, health professionals, among other capacities to uplift the victims and the affected families in the damaged areas.

The main activity during the early days of the response was undergoing cleaning activities. Thus, Lounaniyoun team gathered cleaning equipment such as brooms and shovels, in addition to masks, gloves and sanitizers and started cleaning houses and streets in the affected areas.

Lobnaniyoun’s office team held the responsibility of reaching out to a list of potential donors in order to gather the needed material for the victims and the affected families.

To better respond to the disaster, our team members were split into three groups:

  1. The first group cleaned four houses in Sursock street along with volunteers.
  2. The second team installed a tent in Sassine square to provide assistance to those in need.
  3. The third group remained at the organization’s office to receive all the donations. Donations included: ready to eat food, canned foods, clothes, first aid kits, Panadol and advil. This team was also responsible of sorting out all the received goods according to a previously set plans.

On a daily basis, the volunteers’ team of Loubnaniyoun was getting bigger. Consequently, the cleaning work expanded to include additional neighborhoods and streets.

Meanwhile, both the office team and the volunteers’ team started gathering and assessing information about affected people to be more familiar with their needs in order to provide fundamental necessities.

As all the civil society got mobilized filling the gap caused by an inexistent and incompetent government, as Loubnaniyoun NGO, we took the streets to help in every way we can, and till this date we succeeded in distributing approximately 1500 food boxes, 50 tablets and laptops, 500 first aid kits, Medicines to 50 families and around 20 home necessities ranging from mattresses, sewing machines, washing machines, refrigerators, and sets of pots and pans. Additionally, 50 students received school supplies including: pens, pencils, school bags, books and notebooks.

Also, three vouchers for reconstruction of wood and glass were distributed in Rmeil, Saifi and Ashrafieh. Additionally, 12 damaged houses were fully restored and renovated.

What makes Loubnaniyoun’s donation boxes special is the fact that they are tailored based on the beneficiaries needs post a detailed assessment and following the NGO’s daily updated database. Furthermore, the teams executed daily house visits to assess damages and collect data.

Loubnaniyoun received numerous food donations and the teams distributed around 300 sandwiches, pita bread and juices in the damaged areas. House visits were done by engineers who briefed the organization about the needs.

Donation boxes were distributed at the Loubnaniyoun’s tent in Sassine square, distributed in damaged houses and affected areas, and/or picked-up from the NGO’s offices.

Needs and demands were rising on a daily basis and Loubnaniyoun’s management was executing several meetings with potential donors in an attempt to receive more in-kind and in-cash donations to be able to meet all requests. Also, we went on damage house visits with the donors to take measurements for contractors who hold the responsibility of providing glass and aluminum facades.

Supporting the Education Sector:

The Beirut explosion is among the major non-nuclear explosions in history. Unfortunately, damage extends much beyond the physical rift. The blast caused psychological shock waves which generated widespread trauma. Since the end of the bloody Lebanese civil war, the metal health topic was poorly and rarely addressed and was left in the majority of cases untreated and it is still hunting victims until nowadays. Seen that it is crucial and mandatory to tackle mental health related issues, Loubnaniyoun sat up a psychological assistance tent in Mar-Mekhayel where a clinical psychologist, and a hypnotherapist listened to affected people and victims and offered free consultations daily from 3:00PM until 6:00PM.

The education sector was also hit by the explosion. 120 schools reported some type of damage. This matter affects approximately 55,000 Lebanese and non-Lebanese children, especially since the summer vacation came to an end, and therefore schools resumed online sessions and lessons. Also, most schools in Beirut have opened their doors as shelters. One of the main issues that seems to lag behind is school reform and online education supplies. The school crisis calls for rapid treatment and technical support to develop remote education solutions under these circumstances.

Loubnaniyoun always worked to provide education to students in need, in this context, we launched Minhati program in 2013 in Lebanon. It’s an ongoing – yearly sponsored – student scholarship program targeting youth generation, especially high school students aged 14 -18.

Our aim is to promote social development through education and help underprivileged students who are financially in need. Loubnaniyoun has helped in providing tuition fees for students in different Lebanese regions for six consecutive years for a total of 1800 scholarships.

Students are carefully identified and selected through a merit and need-based screening procedure, from different Lebanese regions and schools. The organization believes in the necessity and importance of education and intends to pursue this project in the future, in order to help as many students as possible to obtain a decent level of education. This in turn would bring development to our country.

Loubnaniyoun intensified its efforts to contribute to the rehabilitation and opening of schools, and to ensure the well-being of children, as well as to support teachers. The managerial team reached out to numerous donors and was able to received donations to purchase servers for the damaged schools. Loubnaniyoun was able to donate Philips Servers and IT equipment to the three interconnected schools: School of Annunciation, Zahret el Ihsan and Les Trois Docteurs. The targeted schools gather around 4000 students. Our NGO received this donation from Philips Electronics Middle East & Africa B.V, consequently we were able to repair the whole IT system of the three schools with the Cisco, Firewall and Palo Alto Licenses, the servers and all the needed equipment. With the huge shift to the virtual world due to the outbreak of COVID-19, and because of the damages caused by the explosion, it was essential to assist the damaged schools to make a smooth shift to online schooling.

An Image of Light in the Darkness!

The holiday season is right around the corner, this holiday in particular should be one of love, togetherness, family, friends, giving and spreading the love. We suffer today from collective trauma and isolation. The terrible events occurring in Lebanon, and the suffering of so many has roots in isolation and coldness. Yet, community is a boost to the human being. When we are parts of something bigger, we heal. With too much darkness in this world, Loubnaniyoun aims at reconnecting to what truly matters thus we are eager to draw an image of light through a series of recreational activities to spread happiness across the damaged areas.


Future Endeavors:

Loubnaniyoun is still proceeding with its post blast response. We are still making daily visits to the field and the damaged areas. We are still distributing donation boxes. We are still receiving aid requests and our doors will forever be open to victims and people in need.

Together hand in hand we will rise and shine again, we will rescue our beloved Beirut, the city of life and light. Together we will surely paint a strong picture of resilience, hope and unity.

*Support Loubnaniyoun in pursuing its message of hope, education and peace through donating.


Related Projects


All Rights Reserved 2022 Loubnaniyoun