Relief Efforts for Beirut

August 13, 2020

On August 4, a catastrophic explosion hit Beirut, Lebanon’s capital, killing more than 200 people, injuring 5,000, and leaving 300,000 others homeless. The blast decimated the port, including its grain silo, and wreaked havoc on much of the city. The blast was caused by a fire that spread to 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, stored in the heart of the city, for 7 years, by a criminally negligent and corrupt government. For a week now, the inhabitants of the afflicted city have been living with the immediate and longer-term effects of this disastrous event: many have lost friends and family members; homes and businesses lie in shambles; hospitals are destroyed and patients’ lives are at risk; and thousands are suffering from physical and psychological injuries. 

All of this comes at a time when Lebanon is plagued by an economic crisis unlike any it has ever seen, and dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. 

Over the last few days, a number of relief funds have been set up by local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), activists, artists, and cultural institutions, in order to mend the extensive damage sustained by the city and its inhabitants. Below, I share some of these donation sites and relief programs.


1.  The Lebanese Red Cross -

The Lebanese Red Cross is helping with the medical response. The organization deployed more than 125 ambulances after the explosion. Red Cross emergency workers are helping to find the injured or dead, distributing food, and offering shelter to the displaced.

2.  Impact Lebanon -

The nonprofit launched a crowdfunding campaign to provide more than $6 million for disaster relief, distributing the funds to local organizations and the Lebanese Red Cross.

3.  Art Relief for Beirut - Instagram: artrelief4beirut

An initiative to raise funds for Beirut through the sale of artwork donated by local and international artists. The aim is to raise as much money as possible for Impact Lebanon, the Lebanese Red Cross, and Baytna Baytak. Works, as well as work-donation and sales information, available on Instagram: artrelief4beirut.

4.  Beit Baraka -

Beit Baraka is free supermarket feeding the elderly population of the country, rebuilding homes, offering shelters, and feeding those in need.

5.  Egna Legna  -

This organization works to help foreign workers in Lebanon, victims of the racist kafala system, that have been affected by the blast, and foreign workers that have been abandoned in front of their embassies due to hyperinflation and people’s inabilities to pay them. The workers are protesting in front of their home countries’ embassies, so they can be repatriated. Egna Egna is collecting donations in order to help purchase plane tickets for the workers. 

6.  Basmeh & Zeitooneh -

Basmeh & Zeitooneh’s mission is to empower individuals by working amongst the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, to fill the gaps in development assistance, and respond to the most urgent relief and developmental needs to contribute to the advancement of society. Basmeh & Zeitooneh are now raising   £ 100,000 to help the victims of the catastrophic explosion in Beirut.

7.  Unite Lebanon Youth Project -

Unite Lebanon Youth Project is an NGO that offers free education to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. In light of the current situation, they are putting all donations towards the rebuilding and aid of the Karantina area and its occupants, one of the most deprived and underdeveloped areas in the city.

8.  Embrace Lebanon -

Embrace Lebanon is the only suicide and mental health hotline in Lebanon. They are offering free psychological care for everyone, a crucial undertaking in the wake of the explosion. 

9.  Lebanon Solidarity Fund: Fundraising Campaign for the Arts and Culture Community in Beirut -

Following the devastating explosion that rocked Beirut on August 4, 2020 and the unprecedented loss of life, injury and damage to homes, offices and workspaces across the city, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture – AFAC and Culture Resource (Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafy) launch an international fundraising campaign to support the culture and the arts community within Beirut.

Both Culture Resource and AFAC will contribute to the fund with seed capital and handle its management and distribution to institutions and individuals in the arts and culture sector.

10.  Help our friends rebuild studios after the Blast! -

Studio Safar, Papercup, Jana Saleh are an integral part of Beirut's new creative wave. Despite all the obstacles and challenges that working in a city like Beirut presented, they endured and surmounted them all out of their determination to remain based here.

Their studios were based in two of the city’s hardest hit areas: Mar Mikhael and Gemmayzeh. With their working spaces, equipment, archives, and in one case, home, completely destroyed - it is literally impossible for them to get back on their feet without our financial help. 

11.  Arab Image Foundation -

The AIF premises houses our workspaces, a cool storage room for the collection, and a library. The powerful second blast blew out all the glass from the windows, and the doors from their frames. Even the fireproof doors of the cool storage room were heavily damaged. All computers fell to the ground, and most are broken. The preservation department was the most severely impacted. The office is currently off the electricity grid due to damage to the network and we are working diligently to secure an alternative electricity source. 

12.  Animals Lebanon -

Animals Lebanon has an on-ground search and rescue team looking for lost pets and saving injured animals they also have a shelter. They have helped reunite 96 guardians and their animals so far.