In the News

Latter-day Saint Charities donates $2 million for Lebanon relief after Beirut blast


The devastation in Beirut after the August 4, 2020 explosion.

Roula Akiki

A donation of nearly $2 million from Latter-day Saint Charities is helping provide desperately needed food and medical supplies to the people of Lebanon following the devastating Aug. 4 explosion in the Port of Beruit.

According to a Newsroom report by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this recent donation is just the latest in an ongoing effort to relieve suffering in Lebanon, where the Middle East/Africa North Area Presidency of the Church has been prioritizing providing supplies for medical and food needs in the country.

The blast in Beirut is estimated to have killed more than 200 people, injured more than 7,000 and damaged some 300,000 homes, according to the Newsroom report. The explosion is reported to have originated in a warehouse in the port that contained some 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate. The blast caused damage for miles on end.

“We are grateful for the generous donations of Latter-day Saints around the world, which make it possible for us to quickly respond to this unexpected crisis,” said Elder Anthony D. Perkins, president of the Middle East/Africa North Area. “We appreciate working with our trusted humanitarian partners to help provide needed medical supplies and food. The good people of Lebanon continue to be in our prayers during this difficult time.”

As reported by the Church News on Aug. 5, following the explosion, no Latter-day Saints were injured in the blast. Although the building that houses the Latter-day Saint meetinghouse was affected by its proximity to the explosion site, the rooms where Church meetings are held were not damaged.

“The destruction of Beirut and the loss of so many lives are cataclysmic but our faith is great and the light will always prevail,” said local Latter-day Saint Roula Akiki, whose husband President Maroun G. Akiki is currently leading the Beirut Lebanon District Branch.

“We are thankful that none of our members were injured in the explosion, and we mourn with those who lost loved ones,” President Akiki said. “This is a challenging time in our country, but the Lebanese people once again showed wonderful solidarity and compassion towards each other. We will continue to help and serve however we can.”

In their humanitarian efforts in Lebanon, Latter-day Saint Charities is partnering with MedGlobal, Project HOPE, International Medical Corps, Rhama Worldwide, Convoy of Hope, and The Adventist Development and Relief Agency. The partnerships with these organizations is helping to provide people in Lebanon with medical supplies and access to healthcare, emergency health supplies, hygiene and sanitation kits, water and food as well as vouchers to help get local business running again.

The country has been suffering for sometime prior to the blast due to a poor economy and the additional strains of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, nearly a quarter of the country’s population is made up of refugees from nearby Syria and Palestine, and many of these refugees live in informal shelters in Beirut.

Boyce Fitzgerald, the welfare manager for the area, noted Latter-day Saint Charities will continue to work with the area. “We know that there will be significant humanitarian needs in Lebanon for a long time to come,” he said. “It is a priority for us to serve as the Savior Jesus Christ would serve, and we will continue working with our local partners to provide basic food and shelter assistance.”

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