Lebanese communities in the world, which are three times the size of Lebanon's population of four million, have come to the aid of the small country after the massive explosion, which destroyed large parts of its capital, Beirut.
The Lebanese expatriates rushed to send money to their relatives who lost their homes or were injured in the explosion, which occurred on Tuesday, which killed at least 137 people and injured more than five thousand, while others pledged to create special funds to deal with the tragedy.
"I spent before noon talking on the phone with our partners to form an alliance to set up an emergency fund," said George Akiki, the chairman of the board of directors of the NGO "Libnet", George Akiki, which he helped create in Silicon Valley, California, USA, and helping Lebanese professionals in the United States and Canada. ». He stressed that "everyone, Lebanese and non-Lebanese, wants to help."
The Akiki organization has established, as did other organizations such as "Seal" and "Life Lebanon", an emergency fund for Beirut, which will collect funds and distribute them to reliable and well-known organizations in Lebanon.
Also, many Lebanese expatriates, who almost all have relatives or friends affected by the disaster, are providing assistance individually, and for this they have launched online donation campaigns.
"My wife and Hala will, at a first stage, make a contribution of no less than $ 10,000 in donations," said Habib Haddad, a Boston-based businessman in Boston, Massachusetts, who is a member of Leapnet. For reconstruction and other projects. ”
He affirmed that many Lebanese expatriates are making the same endeavors, harnessing their anger and grief to help their stricken mother country, which was struck by the disaster at a time when a stifling economic and political crisis plunged more than half of the population into poverty.
"They are asking Lebanese immigrants around the world to make efforts to help," said Maroun Dakash, who owns a Lebanese restaurant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the country of seven million people of Lebanese origin. "I am trying to do my part, but the conditions here are not good with an epidemic (Covid 19)," he says. And despite everything, we are better off there. ”
“Terrible and painful”
Even before the tragedy, Lebanon was counting heavily on expatriates to send money, but these financial transfers declined last year due to the political and financial crisis in the country.
Expatriates often visit their country in the summer, pumping vital liquidity into the Lebanese economy, but the Covid-19 epidemic prevented them this year from going to Lebanon, and many of them are now refraining from sending aid to a country where corruption is widespread at all levels of society.
"People are shocked by the mismanagement of the country," said Najib Khoury Haddad, a technology entrepreneur in the San Francisco area. They want to help, but no one trusts the officials, ”he said, expressing the suspicion of many Lebanese. "I heard that the government created a relief fund, but who will trust them?"
Ghaylan Khairallah, 55, from the Washington area, proposed the idea of twinning a needy family in Beirut with a family outside the country, who can provide safe and direct assistance.
"We are the vital financial artery, especially as the economy will not rise soon," said the woman, whose brother's house was destroyed in the blast.
"We are fortunate to have lived a somewhat stable life here. We are physically distant from Lebanon, but we are present in it with our heart and our feelings. ”
Naela Habib, a Canadian Canadian resident in Montreal, also expressed her determination to do everything in her power to provide assistance, but she expresses her anger at the explosion that resulted from more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in the port of Beirut "without any measures of prevention", according to the authorities Lebanese.
"How terrible and painful it is to see the situation of our country," she said, adding, "Before the tragedy, I was making gifts to a woman helping to provide food for the poor, and I will continue to do so."
The Lebanese are shocked by the mismanagement of the country, and they want help, but no one trusts the officials.