Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
The devastating blast of 4 August 2020 at the Beirut port put Lebanon once more on the front pages of the global media. The citizens are outraged but count on the support of the international community. Coming on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic and the mishandling of the economy by the country’s corrupt leadership, this tragedy has compounded the suffering of the people.
The Armenian community, which is one of the largest communities in Lebanon, has suffered extensive damage because of its location. Historically, the community is concentrated in the coastal area of Beirut, from the port to the northern neighbourhood of Dora. The region includes churches, schools, community centres, small businesses and residences. The neighbourhood has always been open to all communities irrespective of confessional background.
Immediately after the explosions, His Holiness Aram I visited the neighbourhood with members of the municipality and talked to the people. No structure in the neighborhood is unharmed. Windows and doors have been blown apart. Most of the homes are inhabitable, and businesses have been destroyed. So far 13 persons in the community are known to have died, 300 persons have been injured, and 1000 families are left homeless. The community has not yet had time to assess the safety of the buildings, nor the ability of social centres to operate or businesses to resume functioning. At the compound of the Catholicosate of Cilicia in Antelias, which is directly exposed to the port, the Cathedral, museum, and all other buildings have suffered extensive damage. Even the Bird’s Nest orphanage school in Byblos, which is 37 kms away from Beirut, has been damaged.
The community proposes to establish an emergency committee to help recover and facilitate the rehabilitation of the people. The committee will consist of representatives from the Armenian Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant communities, Armenian political parties, and humanitarian organizations. It will operate under the leadership of His Holiness Aram I.
In view of the extensive damage, His Holiness Aram I appeals to all members of the Armenian community, the wider ecumenical partners, and civil society to assist the community rebuild what has been ruined and in this way to help empower Lebanese citizens.
We very much appreciate if all donations and contributions for the rebuilding of the Armenian community are sent to the following special account in Geneva, Switzerland
ARMENIAN CATHOLICOSATE OF CILICIA
Bank pictet & Cie SA, Route des Acacias 60, CH-1211 Geneva 73
CH61 08755 0502 0390 0300