CNA Staff, Oct 5, 2020 / 23:59 pm America/Denver (CNA).
On August 4, a fire in the capital city of Beirut, Lebanon spread to a warehouse containing some 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate.
The substance, which had been stored without the proper safety precautions, ignited in a massive explosion, sending a powerful shockwave through the city which blew out windows, knocked down buildings and killed at least 190 people while injuring an estimated 6,000 others.
Among the areas that sustained the worst damage were Beirut’s mostly Christian neighborhoods of Mar Maroun and Achrafieh. Roughly 36% of Lebanese people are Christians, with Maronite Catholics comprising the largest group, followed by smaller groups including Greek Catholics (Melkites), Armenian Catholics, Syriac Catholics, Roman Catholics, and Chaldean and Coptic Catholics.
Two months after the blast, the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate announced that it would be offering free tuition to students attending its schools in Lebanon, in addition to other financial assistance as needed.
The Church is a “[like a] mother, who senses the situation of her sons and daughters…[who] shares their pain, grieves for their sorrows, and rejoices for their joys,” the Patriarchate said in an Oct. 4 statement.