YMCA Lebanon staff safe but in shock

Date: 05 August 2020

A massive explosion ripped through central Beirut, near the city’s port on Tuesday, 4 August. The blast sent up a huge mushroom cloud-shaped shockwave, flipped cars and damaged distant buildings. It was felt as far as Cyprus, hundreds of miles away. At least 100 people were killed, and 4,000 more were wounded in the explosion, according to state media. That death toll is expected to rise as hundreds remain missing. Four of the city’s hospitals were damaged by the explosion and are out of service, while those which remained open have been overwhelmed with casualties, exasperating Beirut’s health care system crisis as it has been already struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic.

At least 300,000 people have been displaced from their homes by Tuesday’s devastating explosion, according to Beirut’s governor Marwan Abboud. Jad Chaaban, an associate professor of economics at the American University of Beirut, said the situation on the ground in the Lebanese capital after the explosion is so dire that it is “beyond a national disaster.”

The YMCA Lebanon office, located in the Sin El Fil district, was empty at this time of the day (the explosion happened after working hours), but all the windows were blown out. “All our staff and volunteers are safe” shares Mr. Issam Bishara, CEO of YMCA Lebanon. “But we are all in shock. We have never faced such a terrible situation in our lives.”

YMCA Lebanon has a warehouse located near the port, where the explosion occurred. It is stocked with medicines which they distribute to local vulnerable families. Mr. Bishara says “The metal door was completely destroyed, but the goods are all intact. All night, we worked on securing them. We need to repair our office and our premises, but as you can imagine it’s very difficult to find repair workers right now.”

Carlos Sanvee, Secretary General World YMCA, expressed solidarity: “Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends in Beirut and across Lebanon, who are impacted by this terrible explosion. We stand with you in solidarity as you recover and rebuild.” Messages of prayer and support have also been shared from the YMCA family from around the globe.

(photos YMCA Lebanon)

Emergency Fundraising appeal


The global YMCA family is standing in support of the Lebanon YMCA and all those affected by the explosion. An emergency fundraising appeal is now open.

If you would like to support Lebanon YMCA, please go to our Donations page. We thank you in advance for your solidarity and support.

Donations to the World Alliance of YMCAs can also be made via bank
transfer or cheque using these details:
World Alliance of YMCAs
12 Clos Belmont,
1208 Geneva,
Switzerland Bank: UBS SA,
PO Box 2600, 1211 Geneva 2,
Account number: 0240-617775.10L
IBAN Code: CH780024024061777510 L



More information

The YMCA Lebanon was originally founded in 1890.They have worked and continue to work with over 400 local organizations, municipalities, and schools from all areas of Lebanon.