#LoveLebanon

From Sedeisha Johnson

On 4 August (Tues), two massive explosions ripped through the port of Beirut and the surrounding area. The resulting death toll has passed 200 (and counting), and more than 6,000 have been wounded and 300,000 displaced f

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Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Beirut, but we know many of you want to do something more. We are thus raising funds to support three credible local organisations that we personally know and/or have worked with, and that are actively helping those affected in this time: The Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD), Resurrection Church Beirut (RCB), and Life Center Beirut.*

Your giving will go to three main areas:

1. SHELTER & FOOD FOR THE DISPLACED: US$28,000

LSESD is converting some of their facilities into units to house and support families who have lost their homes, for as long as they need to stay. We hope to raise $8,000 for operating costs, food and essentials for the families.Life Center will also be doing food distribution for those in need and for volunteers. We hope to raise $20,000 for:- Food and groceries parcel distributions for 200 families for a month ($12,000)- Hot cooked meals for 5,000 people ($6,000)- Daily sandwiches and water for local volunteers cleaning debris on streets and damaged apartments ($2,000)

2. MEDICAL SUPPORT: US$10,000

Thousands were injured as a result of the blast. We hope to raise $10,000 to support RCB’s efforts in helping those who need surgery and hospital treatment.

3. RECONSTRUCTION: US$10,000

Many buildings up to almost 10km away from the blast were badly damaged. We hope to raise $10,000 for renovation works for damaged homes - RCB has already started some of this work.

There is hope.

A friend on the ground at Beirut (who took the above three photos) texted right after the blasts:

"...I just came to see Beirut after (the) massive explosion and felt sadness, hopelessness and desperation on the faces of Lebanese victims and helpers. (But) young people are not dead in action. We are deeply moved to find very fine young Lebanese."

So, thank you for coming alongside the people of Beirut with your generous giving. Let's stand with and #LoveLebanon together today.

-- Friends of Lebanon in Singapore

Some background on the local organisations:

LSESD: lsesd.org/facebook.com/LSESDRCB: rcbeirut.org/facebook.com/ResurrectionChurchBeirut/Life Center: sol-kids.com/christianpost.com/news/life-center-offers-hope-to-thousands-of-refugees-fleeing-war-torn-syria-an...

FAQs

1. What is #LoveLebanon and who are the people behind it?

#LoveLebanon is a ground-up initiative responding to the ongoing crisis. It was started by some Singaporeans who had spent some time in Lebanon over the past few years.

2. I’m not familiar with your beneficiaries. How did you select them?

When we (those helming #LoveLebanon) were in Lebanon, we got to know many locals and local organisations (such as these three) who have established work with communities-in-need, e.g. refugees, the poor. When the crisis struck, we were in touch with the locals and heard about how these three organisations were responding and/or planning to respond, and how they wanted to expand this relief work. We decided that we needed to find ways to support them.To find out more about the organisations' work, you can refer to the links above.

3. Why not just donate the money to the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC)?

LRC is doing an amazing job and should definitely be supported. However, in times of great crisis, one organisation is simply unable to reach everyone in need. There are also many other credible local organisations who have been consistently working on the ground with communities-in-need for many years. They are able to rally local volunteers to support their efforts in terms of manpower, but do not have as great an access to financial resources. Donating to them as well would ensure that they can continue their good work.

4. These organisations are faith-based. Will that be an issue in how the money is spent?

In Lebanon, it is not out of the norm to have faith-based organisations doing humanitarian or relief work with communities-in-need. These three organisations in particular have been serving people from across all backgrounds, ethnicities and faiths - equally/with no distinction, and for many years. Their current relief work is no different.We are in close contact with representatives from these organisations to ensure that everything is transparent and accountable. The breakdown in how the money will be spent is detailed above, and we will continue to provide regular updates from the ground.

5. Why does the target amount look higher than what is listed in the write-up?

The target amount is listed in SGD, as this is the currency that GIVE.asia works with and that you are giving in.However, the breakdowns within the write-up are listed in USD, as this is the currency that the organisations in Beirut are working with and that will be wired over. There will also be some bank transfer fees (from both the sending and receiving banks) that we will absorb.

6. What will happen if there are excess funds?

Any excess funds will be divided across the three areas we are focusing on: a) shelter and food for the displaced; b) medical support; and c) reconstruction.

7. How will the money be sent to Lebanon and how long will it take to reach the organisations?

The money will be wired from GIVE.asia directly to the organisations' bank accounts. Unfortunately, it may take some time for the bank transfers to take place, due in part to the financial crisis Lebanon has been facing - about 3-4 working days for the actual transfer, and possibly up to 10 more working days for locals to withdraw the funds from the accounts.This is one reason why we need your support to raise the money quickly - so that we can begin the transfer process as soon as possible. We don't want the lack of financial resources to limit the speed of the organisations' work, especially since the cold weather will start setting in soon in September.

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