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Here’s How You Can Help Beirut From Australia

An explosion has destroyed half the city, amid Lebanon's current economic and food crisis.

How to help Beruit

More than 135 people are dead and thousands injured after explosions in Beirut, Lebanon on Tuesday have effectively destroyed half of the city, only further compounding its ongoing humanitarian crisis. Here’s how you can help from afar.

The explosions were set off in a port warehouse where 2,750 metric tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate had been stored against professional advice for the past six years. The nitrate had been effectively abandoned in Beirut,  by a Russian-leaded cargo ship back in 2014, after the owners wiped their hands of it amid financial and diplomatic disputes — officials begged for the explosive material to be moved, given its highly flammable nature.

Horrific video footage shows a mushroom cloud form over the port on Tuesday, and it’s believed that half the city has been destroyed in the blast. At least 100 people are missing, and emergency groups are searching for survivors underneath rubble. Hospitals, which were also damaged in the blast, are overwhelmed. It’s likely death numbers will rise.

The explosion comes at an already difficult time for Lebanon, as an economic crisis has seen a massive 80 percent devaluing of their currency, meaning many simply can’t afford basic food items.

Last year, protests over corruption and squalid living conditions saw their Prime Minister resign, though little has improved: blackouts are common across the country, tap water isn’t safe to drink, and access to food is worsening.  It’s estimated that 40 per cent of Lebanon is unemployed, and more than 50 per cent are living below the poverty line.

And while COVID-19 cases are relatively low in Lebanon, with only 65 people dead from the virus, hospitals were already worried a recent spike was pushing the health system to capacity.

Beirut, now-destroyed port, meanwhile, is practically their sole import point for food, as their land-borders are with the war-torn Syria and Israel, who they are at war with. As per the Guardian, 90 per cent of the countries’ wheat comes through this single point.

As the repeatedly war-devastated Beirut, faces rebuilding for the eighth time, here’s five places to donate to.

Given Lebanon’s current economic crisis has limited people’s access to banking, individual crowd-funding efforts may be delayed, meaning it’s best to donate, for the time being, to larger causes. It’s also best to donate in US dollars.

Beit el Baraka

This non-for-profit usually helps those unable to afford housing across Lebanon, but are currently accepting donations to help rebuild and rehome the city. They are also housing people who are now homeless due to the blast.

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The Lebanese Red Cross

The Lebanese Red Cross is currently setting up first aid stations across the city, and needs your help.

They are the main provider of ambulances across the country, and were already stretched for supplies before the blast — according to their website, they cannot respond to 1/5 emergency calls.

The Australian Red Cross recommends you donate to them directly.

Human Appeal Australia

With field offices on the ground, Australia’s Human Appeal has a convey of eight ambulances and 20 paramedics across Beirut.

They are asking for donations to help provide medical assistance, hygiene kits and food parcels, as well as longer-term efforts to rebuilding homes.

A hygiene kit costs $50 and food parcel $75, though they also, of course, accept any amount.

Muslim Aid Australia

Australian charity Muslim Aid Australia also has direct liaisons with parties on the ground in Beirut, , and are asking for donations to help provide food and emergency aid.

You can donate here.

CNN’s Impact Lebanon Fund

Organised by CNN, the Impact Lebanon Fund splits donations between six organisations, including the American Red Cross and UNICEF.