Church responds to Lebanon explosion

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Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) response teams in Lebanon are providing essential emergency supplies to recovery workers and survivors of the massive explosion in Beirut’s port. The huge blast that struck the Lebanese capital city on August 4, killed at least 135 people, wounded more than 5,000 people, and left more than 300,000 people homeless.

“Responders say they have never seen anything like this before. The images look like a war zone. The first dispatched ambulance teams were killed by the explosion. We are delivering water and essential equipment to firefighters and civil defense workers,” says Gunther Wallauer, ADRA regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. “We are providing bedding supplies, so they have a place to rest; they need cots, tents, generators for lights since electricity is out in most of the city. We know there’s devastation in several neighborhoods close to the epicenter. Our teams on the ground are quickly assessing the situation to provide immediate aid to children and families.”

ADRA teams will tour at least five neighborhoods including schools surrounding the blast zone to begin to deploy the humanitarian support including water and food to the victims. Authorities believe the deadly blast could have been caused by tons of highly explosive material stored in a warehouse at the main port. The disaster is overwhelming the country already dealing with an economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our prayers are with the Lebanese nation, especially the children and families affected by this catastrophe and all who lost loved ones and are injured.  We have been on the ground since the coronavirus outbreak helping the Lebanese community cope with the health and economic challenges of the pandemic and are ready to provide additional support during this added crisis,” says ADRA’s President Michael Kruger.  “We are committed to increasing our emergency response activities to provide life-saving essentials to those in need of assistance.”

ADRA is working with church volunteers, local authorities, and partners in Beirut to coordinate the relief and recovery operations. To assist with ADRA’s emergency response in Lebanon, please visit ADRA.org/Disasters.

NZPUC responds

As the death toll continues to rise after the explosion (August 4) that rocked Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders have called for prayer and support.

Dozens of people have been killed and thousand injured in the explosion, which happened at the port. The city’s governor has said Beirut is in the midst of a national disaster akin to Hiroshima.

Initial reports on social media from official Adventist Church sources describe damage to churches, schools and the Middle East Adventist University in Beirut, although none of the buildings appear to have been destroyed.

Photo of Boucherieh church in Beirut, damaged from the explosion. Shared by Rick Edward on Facebook.

The New Zealand Pacific Union Conference (NZPUC) is a partner in ministry with the Middle East North Africa Union (MENA). Pastor Eddie Tupa’i, president of the NZPUC, reached out to his counterpart at MENA to offer his support.

“The New Zealand Pacific Union (NZPUC) has received an initial report from our ministry partner, the Middle East North Africa Union (MENA), that the explosion near central Beirut has caused significant damage to the building used by the Adventist Learning Centre,” shared Pastor Tupa’i. “No-one was in the centre at the time of the explosion.

“We have communicated with Pastor Rick Edward (president, MENA) to convey our best wishes and hopes for the Adventist Church and the people of Beirut.”

The official Seventh-day Adventist Facebook page asks members to join in prayer for the MENA Union and all Adventists in Lebanon.