The Netherlands has collected more than 15 million euros through Giro555 for the victims of the heavy explosion in the port of Beirut. The fundraiser ended a few weeks ago, but the total amount was not announced until Thursday.
Assistance made difficult by corona infections
At least 180 people were killed and 6,500 injured in the explosion on August 4. More than 300,000 residents of the Lebanese capital were also temporarily homeless, including some 100,000 children.
“The streets have been swept clean, but a lot is still broken”, says action chairman Garance Reus-Deelder, also director of Plan International Netherlands. Some of the victims still stay with relatives, but some are now at home. “Many houses have been provisionally refurbished and not ready for winter.”
Thanks to the donations, houses can be restored. More and more space is also becoming available for offering psychological and economic help. The focus was initially on clearing debris, handing out food and hygiene packages and providing medical assistance.
Although many people still depend on food aid, as a result of the economic crisis that has now intensified, daily life is slowly resuming. That is why children in the affected area also receive help with distance learning. Not everyone has access to the internet because of the high costs.
In the port of Beirut there are still remnants of collapsed buildings. (Photo: ANP)
Lebanon has to deal with many corona infections. The lockdown and other corona measures in Lebanon also complicate emergency aid in Beirut, says Reus-Deelder. “Emergency workers cannot enter certain areas and transport is difficult. In addition, employees sometimes have to be quarantined or isolated.”
In Beirut, the aid organizations behind Giro555 not only work together with their foreign branches, but also with local organizations. Help is also being offered from other countries. According to the action chairman, the Dutch have already been able to make a major contribution, partly because the Netherlands was the first country to take a major action. “The people of Beirut felt supported.”
Most donations came in during the national day of action in August. The collected amount is spent in two years. Every year Giro555 will provide a substantive and financial explanation of the aid provided in Beirut by means of a report.