(Photo Credits: Mehr News Agency / CC BY 4.0)
It’s been almost two weeks since the deadly twin explosions in Beirut on the afternoon of 4 August 2020.
A report prepared by the UNOffice for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) revealed that the blast has “damaged at least 26 hospitals and clinics, 170,000 apartments and 120 schools attended by 50,000 students,” Sky News reports. The property damage caused by the 2020 Beirut explosion was estimated to be US$10–15 billion.
But more than the destruction of properties, the massive explosion took the lives of over 200 people, landed an estimated 6,000 people in the hospital, and rendered around 300,000 people homeless.
The LGBTQ+ community is among these victims as the blast hit the neighborhoods where many LGBT+ people lived, according to All Out Action Fund. They added, “Many are unable to access emergency services because of ongoing criminalization and bigotry LGBT+ people face in Lebanon.”
Further, Gay Star News (GSN) reported that one Proud Lebanon (a non-profit LGBTQ+ organization that provides legal support and healthcare services, etc.) worker “suffered broken arms, legs and has lost her eye.” The force of the blast had blown her out of her house from the second floor and into the garden, read the story in full here.
Moreover, another Lebanese non-profit LGBTQ+ organization called Helem reportedly lost both its centers in the explosion. A fate shared by Proud Lebanon’s center as well.
Helem provides services and referrals for legal, social, and health-related issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Lebanon as well as “mental health and emergency support for victims of violence, arrest or homelessness.”
In spite of these challenges, both Proud Lebanon and Helem are helping not only the LGBTQ+ community but the people of Beirut pick up the pieces in ways that they can.
Tarek Zeidan, Executive Director of Helem, said in an interview with GSN:
“Helem’s staff and volunteers have joined the relief effort in Beirut and are working to remove debris, help set up community kitchens, and dispense emergency aid to members of the community who have been affected by the explosion.”
Adam4Adam readers who wish to help Proud Lebanon may send their contribution here. The money raised will “help pay for emergency shelter, food, medical supplies, and post-trauma psychological support for the LGBT+ community in Beirut,” according to the fundraiser page.
On the other hand, those who wish to send help to Helem may do so here. The money raised will be used to “support LGBTIQ community, the center’s relief efforts, and any other urgent needs on the ground.”
There’s also another foundation called Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality that is currently raising funds to “help support basic needs of our communities from food boxes, sanitation and COVID-19 prevention kits, housing and shelter, support for medical testing, doctor visits, off the shelf treatments and psychological support.”