Thousands were shocked and devasted in Beirut after a massive explosion in a warehouse district. So far, at least 100 people are reported dead, while thousands of others are injured, according to the Lebanese Red Cross. Many are still missing.

Over 300 000 have been left homeless by the destructive blast, as buildings and infrastructures were hit.

“Our home is destroyed, our life is destroyed. Why are we stuck in this country?” said wedding store owner Mohamed Abidis.

A Beirut man survived against all odds

However, amidst the chaos and destruction, there are some stories of hope and survival.

For example, there’s Atar. He was one of the lucky ones. After spending 15 hours buried under the rubble of his home in Beirut for 15 hours, he was pulled out alive. Weak, but alive.

A civil defense team worked restlessly under the August sun and hot temperatures to pull him out. When they did, Atar punched the air with as much strength as he could muster to show his joy. Around him, the crowd clapped and cheered, emotional from a moment of joy in the aftermath of a terrifying explosion.

The volunteers screamed “He’s alive!” alighting the streets with joy. They pulled Atar out, along with objects from his home like a pair of slippers, children’s toys and jewelry.

Watch this Goalcast video for another incredible survival story:

Lebanon’s crisis started before this terrible blast

While authorities are still trying to determine exactly how and why the blast happened, right now blame is directed at tons of ammonium nitrate stored at a warehouse at the Beirut port, according to Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab.

Lebanon was already dealing with an extreme economic crisis, with its currency having lost 80 percent of its value and massive unemployment.

“It’s mayhem here, honestly. I used to live in New York and I was in Manhattan on 9/11 and it’s the same there today — it’s the same feeling, the same smell,” Hassan Sinno, 42, a construction company manager, told NBC News.

This explosion has just made things so much worse. The governor of Beirut, Marwan Abboud has estimated the cost of the damage to the capital could be between $3 billion and $5 billion, in addition to the explosion making at least 200,000 people homeless.

While international aid is coming from many countries, more needs to be done said Samah Hadid, head of advocacy at the Norwegian Refugee Council. “Lebanon really needs support. Lebanese communities were already facing poverty, starvation and an economic crisis as well as the Covid pandemic — now this explosion adds so much more misery and suffering,” Hadid said.

“The country is brought to its knees and can’t cope with this catastrophe alone.”

Here’s how you can help the people of Lebanon:

  1. Donate to the Lebanese Red Cross. They are the country’s main provider of ambulances and emergency medical technicians. https://twitter.com/RedCrossLebanon/status/1290787078826086401
  2. The British Red Cross has also set up a fund: https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/beirut-emergency-appeal
  3. Impact Lebanon disaster relief fund: Impact Lebanon is raising money for disaster relief
  4. Beit el Baraka : This Beirut-based organization is helping families and elderly people in Lebanon.
  5.  Baytna Baytak is an organization that gives free housing to health care providers during the pandemic. Now, more than ever, they will need a space.
  6. Donner Sang Compter: This organization is setting up blood drives and supporting blood donations in Beirut.
  7. The Beirut Blast Victims Relief Fund has been set up on GoFundMe to help raise money that will be transferred to “reputable” non-governmental organizations to help victims of the Beirut explosions.
  8. Embrace Lifeline: The Embrace Lifeline is a helpline for mental health support for those in need in Lebanon.

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