Medical care, food, hospitality, spiritual, moral and economic support for families affected by the explosion: this is what the Salesians in Lebanon have been working on immediately following the explosion of 4 August. Driven by young people, of all rites and religions, who have voluntarily put themselves at the service of the most affected families in the capital, the spiritual Sons of Don Bosco give home and assistance to those who have lost their family, shelter and work.
In a video recorded in front of the devastated port of Bierut, the Syrian Salesian Fr Simon Zakerian describes the situation of enormous pain that pervades the whole population, but also the desire for redemption and reconstruction that arises in the first place from young people:
“We are here in front of this sad place, where this explosion took place, the port of Beirut, where so many people have left this world, so many people are still missing, so many are injured, so much damage to the whole of Beirut and to the whole country … It’s a very sad thing, a thing that makes you cry,” says Fr Simon Zakerian.
“However, despite this destruction, these difficulties,” he continues, “our young Salesian animators have joined the youth groups of the diocese of Jbeil, and with them also the young Muslims, all the young people of Lebanon, have decided to voluntarily put themselves at the service of people most in need, the elderly who could not themselves clean the houses full of shattered glass …
Beirut does not die, life has to rise again. This is what we want to say to the whole world. Young people give hope, joy and take to the streets to help and to reaffirm that we must build our city together, remaining united.
I ask you a remembrance in prayer for Lebanon, the Lebanese people and for all the peoples who live here as refugees.”
Present in the country since the second half of the last century, the spiritual Sons of Don Bosco in recent years have turned their activities in a special way towards refugees from Iraq, mostly Chaldean Christians. Many of these lived or carried out commercial activities in the affected area. In this emergency, relief was extended to the victims of the powerful explosion, refugees (including from Syria) and Lebanese residents who suffered losses: family members, homes, jobs. “We’re visiting the houses to see how they are and how they are going through these difficulties, to give help,” continues Fr Zakerian.
Don Bosco Network members and partners are supporting this emergency response of the Salesians in Lebanon