Lebanon

Vital support for the population affected by the explosion in Beirut

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"For me there is no more hope, neither for this country nor for my leg" -- Ayoub, victim of the explosion. Almost three months after the accident which destroyed part of Beirut and left hundreds of thousands of people in a precarious situation, requests for help continue to flow to the call center created by TSF, managed by its local partner Live, Love Beirut. The requests arrive through an online form or a WhatsApp bot and are then analyzed by the team, in order to know the needs and contact the appropriate associations.

Thanks to this, so far 4,770 families have been able to voice their needs and ask for help. This aid is distributed by specialized associations (medical, reconstruction aid, food, etc.) that form the "Beirut Relief Coalition;" even though most basic needs are met, sometimes help may take some time to reach those affected.

Aya, a volunteer at Live, Love, Beirut, explains that it is important to accompany people who contact the call center. She works with associations in the medical sector, and Ayoub's story has truly touched her.

Following the explosion, Ayoub lost his left leg. He had been a private driver for 20 years, and when his boss heard that he had to be amputated, he fired him. Ayoub's life turned upside down... "Life is so hard, I can't walk, I can't get up, I'm always laying down. At night I cry to myself...I'm crying because I'm sorry to myself. I can't tolerate the suffering anymore". His handicap has led to other problems: Ayoub fell in the shower and broke his other leg. His new situation generates costs, in particular the essential drugs that he cannot afford to buy; he has even had to "sell everything that is in [the living room] so that we can have food on the table."

He contacted many associations for help, unfortunately without success, until he found Live, Love, Beirut. Aya paid Ayoub special attention, and followed up with him from start to finish, to make sure he received the help he needed. "I spoke to Aya at three in the morning. God bless her and this organization. They took more care of me than my parents ever did" says Ayoub. "You are genuine people, you really are the best organization."

The Live, Love, Beirut - TSF collaboration enabled Ayoub to receive medicines, medical care, transport to hospital, financial assistance, as well as food and materials for his home.

Ayoub's story also shows us how important psychological support is in these situations, and it is a part of TSF's identity, one of its core goals. 78.5% of the people interviewed feel heard thanks to this center; even before they receive any material assistance. Many Lebanese indeed feel abandoned, and the fact that their requests and needs are truly taken into account, that TSF staff and Live, Love, Beirut volunteers come to visit them, and follow up on their situation up to making sure they get the help they need, makes a real difference in how they address the challenges they face.

The rebuilding process is long, both for the people and for the city, and it will take many more months. Télécoms Sans Frontières is continuing its action in Lebanon, in order to allow the victims of this disaster to regain a prospect of life after having lost all hope.

Click here to listen to Aya's testimony or here to listen to Ayoub's testimony.