2020. 11. 20.
The EPP Group’s Working Group on Interreligious Dialogue held an online conference today on the crisis in Lebanon. “Lebanon, already having been in a crisis situation for a long time, suffered one of the biggest disasters in its history during the Beirut port explosion in August. However, the emergency is not over yet. Churches and their humanitarian organizations have a crucial role to play in the country’s fight to avid a total social collapse,” emphasized MEP György Hölvényi (Fidesz-KDNP, Hungary) co-chair of the working group at the conference. At the online event, representatives of Lebanese religious organizations and the EU Ambassador to the country provided up-to-date reports on the long-term humanitarian consequences of the port explosion.
As co-chair of the working group, MEP György Hölvényi underlined that based on his previous experience on the ground, churches have a key role to play in delivering aid effectively, which is often hampered by economic and political uncertainty in the country. The MEP recalled that more than three months after the devastating port explosions, people continue to face a deep crisis, both spiritually and materially. Damage assessment in homes, schools, hospitals and churches is still ongoing.
Ralph Tarraf, Head of the European Union Delegation to Lebanon, confirmed that the lack of stable governance, severe political divisions and the crisis of the banking system made it extremely difficult to deal with the emergency. Although support is coming from the European Union and some of its Member States, the crisis cannot be overcome without further expanding international humanitarian aid, he underlined.
Dr. Michel Abs, General Secretary of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), Beirut, reported that the general disappointment of the people and the spiritual crisis were more severe than the economic one. The level of aid available in the country is far below the needs of those in need. He pointed out, however, that relief organisations of churches can ensure the efficient use of resources and the prevention of corruption.