Worldwide Rotary support for Beirut
At our meeting on February 19th, a video was shown - an edited version of a presentation made at District 1040 Council a couple of weeks ago - featuring Habib Saba who is President of the Rotary Club of Beirut Cosmopolitan.
Habib ran through a very brief history of Lebanon and Beirut - once the crown jewel of the middle east in the 1950-1970 era -
and the increasing intractable problems caused by religious and civil division, civil war, corruption, the huge refugee populations from Syria and Palestine, economic and social meltdown, and most recently the added catastrophe of COVID-19.
As if that was not enough for one country to deal with, in August 2020 the massive explosion rocked Beirut causing terrible damage and suffering, including over 200 deaths.
Habib showed a Sky News broadcast illustrating the extent of damage caused by the explosion, the biggest non-nuclear explosion the world has seen.
The Rotary Club of Beirut Cosmopolitan immediately responded in a variety of ways, providing humanitarian assistance followed by a series of programmes and fundraisers to give support for repairs and rebuilding. You can see the extent of their work (astonishing for a relatively small Rotary Club) on their website here. (check out their 2019-20 Annual Brochure)
Habib explained that they are currently seeking to raise $400k and get a Global matching Grant from Rotary International, in support of rebuilding part of the Karantina Hospital, the only public hospital in the city which was extensively damaged as it was within 900 metres of the blast.
York Rotary is joining the fundraising appeal (though our Donate a Lunch programme in March) in support of Beirut RC's drive.
You can see the video here... Click to run; then click the square [ ] symbol to see it "full screen"