04.08.2022

Lebanon, Haiti and Afghanistan: commemorating three August disasters and crises

August marked a number of unfortunate anniversaries: two years since a massive explosion rocked Beirut, and one year since a devastating earthquake struck Haiti and the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan. Where are we today?

The month of August will be remembered for crises and disasters in 2020 and 2021: the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, on 4 August 2020, the earthquake in Haiti on 14 August 2021 and the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan the very next day. Immediately following each crisis, we launched fundraising campaigns and delivered emergency assistance through our partner organisations to support those who had been affected. Here is a brief overview of what your incredible solidarity enabled us to achieve in the wake of these crises.

4 August 2021: Beirut rocked by a devastating explosion

An immense store of nitrate at the port ignited and exploded, blowing away buildings, infrastructure and homes within a radius of hundreds of metres. In a country already suffering from an economic crisis, seeing thousands of people injured and two hundred killed was one blow too many. Within only a few days of the disaster, we launched a fundraising campaign to support the Lebanese people.

Our response: Repairs, reconstruction and financial assistance

Since then, our partner organisations have been providing aid to the most vulnerable people in Beirut. We supported Medair’s reconstruction project, which directly carried out extensive work in two working-class Beirut neighbourhoods. Another example: thanks to HEKS, families received financial assistance that enabled them to repair their homes themselves so that they could continue living in them rather than having to seek refuge in camps.

  • Projects supported: 18
  • Funding provided: CHF 7,266,736

14 August 2020: Another earthquake strikes Haiti

The earthquake that shook the south of the island caused severe damage and many fatalities. The impact of this latest disaster was all the more dramatic, as the most affected areas had already been severely damaged by the 2010 earthquake. Thanks to their long-standing presence in Haiti, our partner organisations have a solid understanding of the Haitian reality. This enabled them to deliver prompt emergency assistance while developing sustainable actions over the long term.

Our response: A balance between emergency relief and longer-term aid

In the days that followed the earthquake, our partner organisations responded to the most pressing needs of the affected population, providing financial assistance to the most vulnerable and distributing basic necessities such as drinking water, hygiene products, tarpaulins, blankets and water purifiers. We then supported projects that could be maintained over the long term: the rehabilitation of drinking water distribution systems, sanitation infrastructures, schools, and so on. One such example was a project run by HEKS, which rehabilitated water networks and rebuilt schools.

  • Projects supported: 7
  • Funding provided: CHF 1,848,151

15 August 2020: The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan

As the world looked on in horror, the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, even capturing the capital, Kabul, on August 15, sending the country’s people into a panic. Many Afghans attempted to flee the country, which had already been relying on humanitarian aid for decades. Basic services such as healthcare simply collapsed. Almost a year later, on 21 June 2022, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck Afghanistan’s southeastern provinces of Paktika and Khost.

Our response: Hospitals and clinics, health-oriented support

As the country collapsed, the healthcare system was in danger of crumbling. Despite the difficult situation, we were able to support our partner organisations’ projects to maintain healthcare services. For example, our partners Medair and the Terre des Hommes Foundation made it possible to keep several medical clinics operating so that they could continue providing the public with access to healthcare services.

  • Projects supported: 6
  • Funding provided: CHF 2,900,002
To enable a prompt humanitarian response in Afghanistan, we drew from our emergency fund to finance our partner organisations’ initial projects. This essential fund enables us to respond immediately to a disaster, crisis or war. To donate to the emergency fund:

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