Christians in Lebanon requested prayer from fellow believers around the world after an enormous explosion devastated the port area of Beirut on Aug. 4.
“After the economic collapse and the COVID crisis, now a disaster happened due to the explosion at Beirut Port,” said Lina Sawan Raad, vice president of the Baptist World Alliance and instructor at Lebanese International University. “Destruction all over Beirut. Please pray for mercy from above from our Lord. We believe that faithful prayer is very powerful.”
The Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development, which has partnered with the Baptist General Convention of Texas in refugee relief, posted on Facebook: “The city of Beirut was rocked today by a massive explosion that occurred in Beirut’s port area. Residents are still reeling while trying to make sense of what happened. Please pray for Beirut, for the wounded, for those whose homes were destroyed, for relief workers, and for the country as a whole as this catastrophe comes at one of the worst times in Lebanon’s history.”
Beirut Baptist School sustained minor damage from the blast, which could be heard 150 miles away in Cyprus.
The explosion killed at least 100 people, injured more than 4,000 and left up to 300,000 homeless, BBC News reported. At least 100 were still missing the day after the blast.
It apparently was caused by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely in a warehouse, according to President Michel Aoun.
Already ‘on the brink of economic collapse’
Jeremy Courtney, founder of the Preemptive Love coalition, said members of his humanitarian team working in Lebanon are safe, but they compared the damage in Beirut to Dresden in World War II, Mosul during the conflict between Iraqi forces and ISIS, and Aleppo during the Syrian Civil War.
“Lebanon has been on the brink of economic collapse for some time, and this explosion at the port wipes out a significant way in which food and gas/energy/oil come into the country, in addition to wiping out one of the major granaries that stores food for the country,” said Courtney, who grew up in Leander as the grandson of a Baptist minister, attended Howard Payne University and earned his Master of Divinity degree from Baylor University’s Truett Seminary.
Michel Tannous, part of the Preemptive Love team in Lebanon, posted a video on Facebook recorded from the balcony of his apartment, with smoke from the explosion visible in the background.
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“The port is totally destroyed,” Tannous said, noting the shortages of food and fuel the country already had been experiencing. “We will no longer have power nor bread—nothing of the basics we need. But this explosion just made it happen in a split-second.”