Catholic teams assist recuperate from the Beirut explosion

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International Catholic groups have responded by providing health services and necessities to the victims following an explosion that killed more than 150 people in Beirut.

At least 16 Catholic organizations, including Catholic Relief Services and Caritas International, responded to the August 4th explosion in the port of Beirut.

As the victims in Beirut urgently need protection, medication, hygiene kits and psychiatric services, these organizations have sent medical teams and relief groups to help with basic needs.

At least 154 people were killed and around 5,000 others were injured in the explosion. Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud estimated the explosion caused $ 10-15 billion in damage and temporarily displaced up to 300,000 people from their homes, according to the BBC.

The fire started near the port's large grain silos. It soon spread to a warehouse containing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be turned into an explosive.

Many buildings and warehouses along the docks were completely destroyed and the shock wave from the explosion caused damage within a ten kilometer radius. The neighboring areas included Beirut's mostly Christian quarters, Mar Maroun and Achrafieh.

Despite damage to its own facilities, CRS relieved the victims of the explosion. Caritas Lebanon offers water and hot meals at various locations in Beirut. Caritas health centers have also opened and a mobile medical unit and mental health team have been made available to the public.

"Our partners immediately started to ensure that people were getting help even though their own buildings were damaged in the explosion," said CRS spokeswoman Megan Gilbert.

"At CRS we have the privilege of contributing to the overwhelmingly generous voluntary response of the Lebanese people, despite what they have been through over the past year," she said on August 6.

Gilbert added: “Many people in Lebanon had difficulty getting through before this explosion. Because of the destruction, people stay in badly damaged houses or even on the streets. You will need long-term support to accomplish this. "

Lebanese President Michel Aoun promised a transparent investigation into the explosion.

"We are determined to conduct an investigation and uncover the circumstances as quickly as possible and bring those responsible and negligent to account and serve them the heaviest sentence," he said on August 5th.

However, many Lebanese have blamed the government for corruption and negligence. They see the investigation as an attempt by political officials to avoid blame.

The ammonium nitrate has been stored in the port since 2014.

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