Icelandic Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson announced that the Icelandic government would be sending 20 million ISK in food aid to Lebanon due to the catastrophic explosion in Beirut last week, Fréttablaðið reports.
Over 200 people died in the blast, and many more are still missing. Its destructive power was so great that over three hundred homes were damaged, and some were even leveled to the ground.
“In the immediate aftermath of the explosion, it became clear that the need for emergency and humanitarian aid would be enormous, and we therefore promised our support at that time,” explains Guðlaugur. “By now it has become clear that our contribution will be the most useful in food aid, which is why I have decided to donate 20 million Icelandic kronur specifically to the food aid program to support Lebanon in these difficult times.”
Food supplies disappear
The explosion destroyed, among other things, the country’s most important port, as well as grain reserves and other food supplies stored in the port area, greatly jeopardizing Lebanese people’s access to secure food sources.
Iceland’s contributions will therefore be sent to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to help ensure increased food security in Lebanon. The aftermath of the explosion has greatly exacerbated the numerous difficulties that already were in place previously due to a mounting economic crisis, the local coronavirus epidemic, and several ongoing political and corruption crises.
The Lebanese government resigned on Monday amid widespread and deep discontent, anger, and protests against the sitting government.
How to help
Those wishing to help should avoid donating money through petitions, as any such donations are usually largely pocketed and do little to help people on the ground, and should make sure to donate in foreign currencies such as euros, British pounds, or US dollars, as the Lebanese pound is enormously weakened and devalued on account of the economic crisis.
Ideal targets for donations include Save The Children’s Lebanon Crisis Relief Fund, UNICEF’s relief fund for Lebanon, Baytna Baytak (Our Home is Your Home), a charity providing free housing to healthcare workers fighting coronavirus in Lebanon and those who have been displaced by the blast, and most of all the Lebanese Red Cross through its website or mobile app. Those on the ground in Beirut should look into the possibilities for giving blood where it is urgently needed and helping to locate missing victims.
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