BEIRUT: Vast areas of Lebanon were engulfed in flames over the last several days as dry weather and gusty winds contributed to carrying burning embers across long distances. However, it seems the flames have also ignited an altruistic sense of humanitarianism in the hearts of Lebanese people as organizations and independent citizens have already started campaigns to aid the victims of the fires.
The Social Work Club at the Lebanese American University is organizing a fundraising event for the Civil Defense on Wednesday and Thursday. Nadine El Amine, the club’s president, told Annahar that the Civil Defense is in urgent need of help from every Lebanese citizen.
All of the university’s students and staff members are encouraged to contribute with any monetary amount possible but people who are not associated with the university are also welcome to help. “All the money raised will be put in a box which the university will then donate to the Civil Defense in Chouf, and our only wish is to help those in dire need of aid,” El Amine added.
The DAFA campaign is providing assistance and relief to all those affected by the blazes. One of DAFA’s volunteers explained to Annahar that most of the victims are in urgent need of water, food, clothing, and shelter. The volunteers are also gathering people in affected areas and taking them to safe spaces, and all those able to contribute are asked to contact DAFA. Allo Taxi, a taxi service company in the country, is picking up donations from people as well and the drivers are delivering everything to the centers where victims are gathered.
The Aloe Vera Resort in Jieh has also opened its doors for those who lost their homes or who simply have nowhere else to go. A hotel employee noted that “we have received many students from the Beirut Arab University in Debbieh who were fleeing the fires and the toxic smoke. Many had actually inhaled a lot of smoke and were in need of paramedics; luckily, that was possible because we have many volunteers working nonstop to help the victims.”
Furthermore, Live Love Beirut, a nongovernmental organization in Lebanon started selling Live Love Forest bracelets online for $10 each. All of the proceeds will go to the Lebanese Civil Defense whose men and women have intrepidly been risking their lives to save and protect civilians since the fires began to spread with escalating intensity.
Tyeb El Eid, a renowned nonprofit organization in Lebanon has also pledged to keep its doors open to all those affected and who are in need of clothing. The Lebanese Food Bank is contributing as well by collecting food donations and delivering help to victims in the Damour and Mechref areas.
A few benevolent volunteers from the village of Aytit in South Lebanon are providing victims from nearby areas with free housing units where they can stay until the problem is resolved. One volunteer told Annahar that “we could not just stand still in the face of adversity watching people’s pleas and cries for help.”
Several other housing units in Bekaa, Nabatieh, Sarafand, and Debbieh are also available for the victims.
No matter how ominous the hardships ahead may seem, the Lebanese people never fail to help one another. That was evident throughout Tuesday evening when a group of young adults gathered under the Cola bridge in Beirut to catch a bus to the most fire-ravaged areas in order to assist Civil Defense members and provide them with water and food.
“The Lebanese Civil Defense members have been exhausting themselves to ensure our protection and have been working uninterruptedly without even eating properly, so the least we could do is provide them with food,” explained Khaled, one of the volunteers.
In addition, Lebanese individuals living abroad are also perturbed by the environmental emergency in Lebanon, causing many of them to send donations. Dhalia Nazha, a 22-year-old student in Canada’s Concordia University, started an online fundraiser on Tuesday morning and has already managed to raise over $65,000.
Nazha said that “I felt very compelled to help upon the sight of the horrific images people were sharing of the catastrophic fires. Although I am very far from my home country, I knew I had to do something to help because sharing information without doing anything is unavailing.”
She added that people from many countries including Canada, the U.S.A., Britain, Lebanon, and others are donating, showing that humanitarianism knows no nationality or race. The money raised will then be transferred to trustworthy people who will purchase supplies and recruit volunteers to help the victims directly without any government intervention.
Multifarious initiatives across the country and abroad are growing stronger by the minute as volunteers are working incessantly to ensure the victims are provided with the necessary aid and have adequate shelters to rest in.
Reforestation measures are also thriving as the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative is holding its National Awareness Campaign on the 3rd of November in Maaser el Chouf. The objective is for people from different backgrounds to unite to preserve their country’s greenery and honor the Cedar, the Lebanese national emblem, by planting 5,000 trees.
> The fundraiser at The Lebanese American University will be held from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.
> To contact the DAFA Campaign volunteers, please dial +961-76099234.
> To contact the Aloe Vera Resort: +961-71199337
> To contact the volunteers in Aytit: +961-70890336
> To contact Tyeb El Eid: +961-70964595
> To contact Allo Taxi: +961-78881213
> To contact The Lebanese Food Bank: +961-03714401
> To register for the National Awareness Campaign’s event: https://www.lri-lb.org/event-form?id=69
> To donate to the reforestation effort and plant a tree: https://www.lri-lb.org/contribution-packages
> To contribute to Dhalia Nazha’s online fundraiser: https://www.gofundme.com/f/vvt7tr-help-the-people
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