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Helping families in Beirut: Zakaria and family

Since the deadly blast on Tuesday 4 August 2020, we’ve been working in Beirut (Lebanon) to support vulnerable families in need.

More than 200 people were killed and an estimated 6,000 people were also injured in the explosions.

Buildings and infrastructure were critically damaged, leaving around 300,000 people homeless.

What’s more, with 120,000 metric tons of food stocks damaged in the explosions, families were left worrying about how they’d feed themselves.

Alhamdulillah, our team worked to support vulnerable families in Beirut affected by the explosions.

People such as 52-year-old Zakaria who lives in Al Karantina with his wife and three children.


Zakaria: Struggling with a failing economy

Living in poverty, Zakaria has been selling coffee on the streets of Beirut for the past five years.

He wakes up every day at 3am to go to work and comes back at 3pm.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he was forced to stay at home with no income. What’s more, since the Beirut blast, things have changed for the worse.

The psychological, mental and financial effects on him and his work have affected the family badly.

Things are incredibly difficult for Zakaria and his family. Despite working all day, he was only able to earn £8.50 a day.

Furthermore, two of his children are registered disabled: his son Mahmoud has learning difficulties, and his son/daughter Ameen has painful hypermobility and learning difficulties. Both of the children are suffering from psychological trauma due to the explosion.

On top of that, the country has been affected by an economic crisis, which has resulted in the collapse of the Lebanese Lira (the national currency).

Although Zakaria now earns £17 a day, rising inflation means that Zakaria cannot afford to buy anything for his family.

Everything is now incredibly expensive and Zakaria can’t afford to buy the basic materials for his work such as coffee and cups. He worries about feeding his family.

Zakaria couldn’t afford to pay his electricity bill. He has personal debts totalling £290 and the family are afraid of their electricity being cut off.

Zakaria depends on the support of charities such as Islamic Relief to survive. He is grateful to Islamic Relief which has helped him several times, including by giving him food packs.

Because of such support, he feels more safe and secure.  He hopes that his family will not go to sleep hungry as they used to.

But without the help of Islamic Relief, the family cannot survive.

Thankfully, we’ve been working to support Zakaria and many more families across Beirut. We’ve distributed 945 food packs and 610 hygiene kits for local families.

Each food pack contains:

  • Brown lentils, 1kg
  • Red/yellow lentils, 1kg
  • Rice, 3kg,
  • Groats (grain), 4kg
  • Chickpeas, 1kg
  • Ghee, 2kg
  • Vegetable oil, 2l
  • Flour, 2kg
  • Tomato paste, 450g
  • Sugar, 3kg
  • Vermicelli (pasta), 1kg

In addition, we provided 12,000 litres of fuel for four local medical centres. This offered critical support for health centres struggling with electricity shortages.

We also removed rubble from the local area to benefit 5,000+ people in Beirut city. All of the work was carried out in accordance with Covid-19 safety guidelines.

Thank you for supporting Zakaria and his family during their time of crisis.

You truly are life-savers.

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