As everybody have heard and seen on the news, 4th of August was hell day for Lebanon, where an enormous quantity of ammonium nitrate exploded and damaged and destroyed, within a radius of 5 km, houses, shops, cars and have killed hundreds of people and injured thousands of people.
Let me explain to you what is it like the Lebanese Expat experience on such type of event:
You are just going about your day, and you suddenly start receiving messages about an explosion in Beirut (at first sight you think of those normal accidents that could happen). Then a flood of pictures start coming on whatsapp showing homes and stores destroyed ans cars smashed all over Beirut. Your jaw drops and panic kicks in.
You pick up the phone to call your family, but lines are disconnected and you cannot reach anyone.
After trying all the call applications, you speak to your family who are thankfully OK and you hear their voices. The pure horror, how they thought they were going to die, how they wondered if this is a bomb, an attack, an earthquake, a building collapse!!!!!
You spend the rest of your night non stop watching and checking news for glimpses of hope, but end up seeing body after body being dragged, buildings totally destroyed, hospitals rendered useless.
Then you are supposed to go on with your life in your residing country! (I live in Italy). After watching news around the clock, you leave your house and think that you will see a city in ruins, but you see a normal city going about life, nobody is sad but you, you walk around like a zombie, feeling anger and frustration, just wanting anyone to acknowledge your pain and heartbreak. But you are the only one. Not being able to be on the ground with the volunteers and just stick to watching news is very hard. Our bodies may have not been in Beirut, but our hearts never left it.
Above is an image which summerize my last week.
Having exposed to you what are my inner feelings, my only way to support my beloved country is by creating a fundraising campaign in order to financially support all those volunteers that are restoring people's houses for those who now are living without a roof. This way i could feel that i did something to my brothers and sisters in Lebanon.
However i need your help in achieving this!
You will find hereafter a link to a gofundme campaign where the collected money will totally be devolved to those families who lost everything (every single penny! ).
Any donation ammount in foreign currency counts and makes a huge difference, since in the last year lebanese local currency lost more than 80% of its value.
If you are not able to donate but feel like you would like to support us, then feel free to share the campaign with anyone you know which could donate or share aswell. Let us reach the goal together and peovide relief to all those families.
Thank you all! May God bless you all!
You are doing a good job . I will see what I can do too.
Thank you very much for your words. Hope i can achieve my goal and really help all these innocent people. God bless you!
I wish that I could be there to help everyone too, especially the animals that have been trapped or abandoned.
I know how you feel about being so close yet so far, as I was in exactly the same situation here over xmas when we had the biggest bushires in Australian history burn most of Australia down, but the worst of it was around my home town (where my 85yr old dad and brother are) where 3 bushfires all submerged into one mega fire, killed over 300 billion native, domestics and farming animals and destroyed so many thousands of homes- many of them my old school friends. These fires went on for months and they couldn't get them under control of put them out as it was in the middle of summer- 40-45 degree days, with high winds in a drought stricken land.
I wanted to be there to help rescue and care for the animals, but couldn't even get there as all of the roads were closed and my home town was blocked off for weeks, running out of food and fuel...and here I was all tucked up and safe in Melbourne with the slight smell of bush fire in the air. I'm 9 hours south of them...
And watching everyone walking around here, shopping, eating (wearing masks because of the very slight smoke in the air) with not a care in the world, it was such a weird feeling for me being so emotionally affected, but not physically impacted and I think feeling so impotent in my ability to help, that was the worst.
I just cross posted you post into the charity community here, but there's only 10 of us in there at the moment as we are just in the beginning stages of planning, but I'm also going to share it on my Facebook page if that's ok?
Yes you described perfectly my inner feelings!! This is what hurts the most!!
Being not able to do anything physically but wanting to do something is a lot to handle in terms of emotional impact! Emotionally it was hurting a lot for me going around and see people living their life normally as if nothing happened.
I felt like a zombie moving around and i still did not overcome the situation. I lost 4 childhood dear friends...2 of them will never be found as they were in the first group of firefighters who went on site to try shutting down the fire before the blast and the blast was so strong that anything nearby has been finely chopped and smashed :(
You can share the post wherever you want! Whatever action that could help reaching the goal...you have full rights to promote and share this fundraising campaign! Since you basically had the same kind of emotional situation you can really feel my inner pain thus i consider you now part of the team on tgis fundraising campaign
Thank you from the deepest of my heart for whatever you will be able to do! Any donation will help!
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friends!
Human beings that are the first responders and work on the front line like firies should all be given bravery medals for just being who they are. Especially when the danger is always definitely there, but so uncertain....
So I just went onto the GoFundMe page and was hoping that you can answer a couple of questions for me so I can write up a better intro to your fundraiser in my Facebook post.
So how are you going to but divided into packages to individual citizens and families.? so I presume that you're talking about financial packages from the funds raised?
Are you talking about an equal amount divided up after the fundraiser has closed and then donated to the individuals? Or donating to them as the fundraiser are still coming in?
And were are you getting those individuals from? Do you have a list of are in contact with a local humanitarian organisation there on the ground?
In this time of global financial strife, people who can afford to donate will want to know exactly where there money is going, who it's going to and how it's getting there and what it is going to be used for- especially when it is a completely unknown individual like yourself asking, rather than a well known charity, you know what I mean.....
I will explain to you why i started my own gofundme campaign instead of providing the link of some local charity. Our country is full of corruption and dishonesty in politics and the innocent people are always the ones that are penalized. If any of the local charities receive 100 what will be realistically given is only 10 out of 100 and that is not why people want to help. When people donate it is because wen they donate 100 they expected to see at least 80 or 90 given to the needy people. This is not happening in Lebanon and will never happen unfortunately, because most of local charities are fake, led by wifes of local politicians to cover up a lot of the money laundering made by their husbands.
In fact a lot of the humanitarian aids (free aids) given by many countries are being SOLD to people and that is unacceptable!! The only way to help these poor people is by doing a civil volunteering workforce and the lebanese people understood that and are moving in this direction.
In fact if you look at what is happening right now. You will see civilians, young mans and ladies cleaning out streets, cleaning people houses, restoring whatever is possible to restore with donations given by other individuals without asking 1 single penny to local charities because they know that if they ask, nothing will be given to them.
With my campaign i want to do what local charities will never do, fund these actions, helping the needy families in restoring their houses, have what is needed to overcome this ugly situation. The only way is through empowering the REAL volunteers, the people of Lebanon.
I have contacts with several of these groups of volunteers many of my friends are helping there aswell. And funds will be devided in packages of 1000$ to each of these groups and i have already agreed with each of these groups to send me updates on what has been made with the funds, in order to post updates on the gofundme campaign and show people the power of their donations and the smile given back to people being able to access their houses again.
Would you like to be part of the team of this fundraising campaign? You seem emotionally very involved and it would be my pleasure having you in the team.
Yep, I'm just working out ways to help, but I think that we need some more detailed info off you first.
I'm am sure that you are legit, but I'm also sure that you realise how many not-so-genuine people take advantage of disasters like this to raise $$$ for themselves, so if you really are genuine and want to make this a success, then it would be in your best interests to actually show who these people are that you have contacted in Beirut and list the things that they intend to buy/ do with the money raised, otherwise people will never donate and you won't get the support from people like me to help because of the uncertainty.
Not a lot of people around the world have much money themselves- we've all lost our jobs- I lost mine on the 18th March and am surviving on very little, so people will not give away money unless they know that it is a reputable charity or who is taking the money and what is is going to be used for, so you really need to make a proper plan, get those details straight and make everything in your plan completely transparent so there no mystery, no confusion, no room for problems to arise, no way for any dodginess to occur and then when you have done that, you will have a much better chance of raising the amount of money that you want to.
The world already knows how dodgy and corrupt the govt is. The world already knows what the citizens of Beirut are doing to clean it up and help everyone, so that is not the questions that you need to answer first, you know.
The question are about you whole game plan from start to finish.
You live in Italy, so I'm sure you watch Soccer.
You are at the goalie at one end of the field and need to get your team to get the ball up to the other goal post at the other end to score.
So you are the Captain because you had this idea, created the gofundme page, and got all the players.
So who are the players, what are their positions and who are they going to get the ball there and what are they going to do with it at the end???
Just like a soccer team you need a detailed game plan to tell the donors, otherwise you won't get anyone to donate.
Do you understand the importance of this aspect?
Yes i totally agree and this is why i identified myself first of all in the gofundme campaign, that C.F. Is my tax identification number in Italy and there could be noone having that same code other than me.
Concerning the funds, these funds raised are going to people, no charities, no organizations. People i trust! I will be sharing the money transfer details through updates on the gofundme page. I understand people being sceptical in donating and if donating to a charity is what makes them donate then i would prefer closing my campaign because i would be helping in this robbery and not helping the needy people.
I would never give a single penny to any charity because most of the ones in lebanon will rob that money for themselves as they are already doing.
There is no reference or contact down there... My sister lives in Beirut and is going to receive that money and go to each of the houses being rebuilt by the volunteers and provide them with direct funding for whatever is needed to restore the house. That is my main goal. Let those poor people gain SAFE access again to their homes. Basically it is the same as you can see in the video i commented in your post. We want to provide funding to those who are really making something (the civilians who are volunteering and are on a daily basis on the streets) and not to fake charities.
If you need any other information i will be more than happy to share it with you. I have nothing to hide, i am just a lebanese guy who has not that much financial power to really help out and is doing my best to reunite the good hearted people in this world to help out in this tragedy through gofundme.
yes I totally understand, but it's not me that you will need to convince- it's everyone else- if you want to get their donations.
And the best way to do that its to make you end game completely transparent, so everyone will know the answers to those important questions- the WHO/WHAT/WHY/HOW/WHEN