Cardinal in Lebanon Says Churches Have a ‘Great Duty’ to Help Beirut After ‘Devastating’ Explosion

Hours after the blast, which struck shortly after 6 p.m. (1500 GMT), a fire still blazed in the port district, casting an orange glow across the night sky as helicopters hovered and ambulance sirens sounded across the capital. A security source said victims were taken for treatment outside the city because Beirut hospitals were overwhelmed with wounded. Ambulances from the north and south of the country and the Bekaa valley to the east were called in to help. The huge blast revived memories of the 1975-90 civil war and its aftermath, when Lebanese endured heavy shelling, car bombings and Israeli air raids. Some residents thought an earthquake had struck. Dazed, weeping and injured people walked through streets searching for relatives. Smoke rises from the site of an explosion in Beirut, Lebanon August 4, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

A cardinal serving in Lebanon said churches have a duty to help Beirut, which he described as a “devastated city” after a massive explosion at its port killed at least 145 people and injured 5,000. 

“Beirut is a devastated city. A catastrophe struck there because of the mysterious explosion which occurred in its port,” Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch, said Wednesday in a statement released by the Catholic Telegraph.