Since October 2019, as a result of the economic and political crisis in Lebanon, the daily deterioration of conditions have created a precarious reality for hygiene and social services. Furthermore, the devaluation of the Lebanese currency now places the Lebanese citizen in a darkening environment of insecurity. At the same time, the August 4 explosion at the Beirut port has left hundreds of families in need of assistance.
The Armenian Relief Society, from the very start of the Lebanese crisis, brought its steady assistance, helping the distressed local Armenian community. Its humanitarian programs in Lebanon, started in 2019, are still being implemented, at a faster pace, thanks to the substantial donations of ARS supporters and the tireless efforts of ARS Entities. The Armenian Relief Cross of Lebanon (ARCL), coordinating activities with the ARS Central Executive Board, has spared no effort to extend a helping hand to Armenians in Lebanon, to a community known as the heartbeat of the Armenian Diaspora.
Initially, $8,000 worth of food baskets were distributed by ARCL to 100 needy families and 200 hot meals were provided to the needy on a weekly basis. Over the following months, because of the pandemic and the horrendous August 4, explosion, the ARCL expanded its hot meal program by providing 1600 portions per week. Over the last 12 months, $224,426 has been allotted to this project.
Naturally, due to the inflation, daily needs of necessary items have become more pressing. After the explosion, the spread of Corona virus was inevitable, while the need for items of hygiene, sanitizers and cleaning supplies increasingly grew. These items were secured and distributed to 3000 families, at the cost of $28,522, while over the winter months, $11,000 worth of blankets were distributed to families in need.
With the ARS Central Executive Board’s initiative, daily need items and medication were sent in three consecutive stages, fulfilling the needs of patients being treated at ARCL’s Araxie Boulghourdjian socio-medical center. Three hundred infants received milk and diapers, while 310 senior citizens were given other daily necessity items. From March, 2020 to February, 2021, $126,985 was allotted to provide 3,151 individuals with medication, socio-medical treatments, hospitalization, and laboratory analysis, as needed.
ARS Lebanon is also part of GAMK (Overseeing Unpredictable Conditions), a body formed following the August 4th explosion, to assist Armenians affected by it. In coordination with GAMK, ARCL’s Araxie Boulghourdjian socio-medical center has performed 2,978 Corona virus infection tests at the cost of $27,917. Over the new year, in cooperation with GAMK, 5,200 food baskets were prepared and distributed among Armenian families. ARCL’s financial participation in this project was $90,000. Members of the ARCL are visiting families afflicted by the Beirut explosion. After assessing their needs, to date, the ARS has contributed $33,000 to assist in securing their daily livelihood or supply basic furnishings and home supplies.
Considering, that as a consequence of the present situation in Lebanon, many Armenian families’ incomes have diminished, or often totally ceased to exist, as well as having high appreciation for the Melankton and Haik Arslanian College’s role in the realm of Armenian Education, the ARS Central Executive Board, donated $25,000 to M. and H. Arslanian College’s ARS Norsikian Kindergarten.
The need for effective assistance to the Armenian Community of Lebanon is more than obvious, to all. The Lebanese-Armenians face dire existential issues today. We are more than grateful to all ARS donors, supporters and Entities, whose considerable continuous input allows us to implement our humanitarian programs in these difficult times of economic and political uncertainty and amid the pandemic. We are grateful for the trust and support of one of the most involved and productive Armenian communities in the Diaspora.
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ARS is an independent, non-governmental and non-sectarian organization serving the humanitarian needs of the Armenian people and preserving the cultural identity. It mobilizes communities to advance. For 111 years it has pioneered solutions to address the challenges that impact our society. Through its vast network of dedicated volunteers in over 27 regions, the ARS is on the front lines of leading our communities towards our collective goals. It plays an active role in providing resources and opportunities to the masses. As an international, humanitarian, Non-Governmental Organization, the ARS advocates for human rights, social justice, self-determination, and civil society in the halls of the international arena as a member of the UN.