August 12, 2020
Our thoughts are with Lebanon where a deadly explosion rocked the capital city of Beirut on August 4, killing more than 150 people, injuring thousands of others and destroying buildings and shattering windows in nearby neighborhoods for miles. An estimated 300,000 people have been displaced from their homes following the disaster.
As the international community pledges millions of dollars in relief and aid packages, local communities are rolling up their sleeves to begin clearing the rubble and devastation from the blast that was felt as far away as Cyprus, some 120 miles away. Local Cat dealer Jallad is on the ground aiding in the efforts as well.
A team of 50 volunteers from Jallad joined clean-up efforts. The team could be seen holding shovels and brooms as they cleared away debris from damaged buildings and swept the streets. Multiple Cat machines, including skid-steers, backhoe loaders and trucks, were also brought in to assist with clean up in some of the most heavily affected areas. The Jallad team also donated personal protective equipment – such as masks, safety helmets and goggles – to those working in search-and-rescue and clean-up efforts. Jallad is in direct contact with the Lebanese armed forces to coordinate their support and provided light towers in the early hours following the explosion to support the rescue operation at night.
In addition, Beirut experiences frequent power outages, and major hospitals in the city rely on Caterpillar and Jallad to provide reliable gensets to support their operations. As the 5,000 injured individuals are treated in nearby hospitals, Jallad is there to support the hospitals, ensuring they continue to provide patients with the care they need.
How the Caterpillar Foundation is helping
The Caterpillar Foundation is a member of the American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). This program provides a funding base that allows the Red Cross to respond immediately to the needs of individuals and families impacted by disasters. This model has proven to be efficient and effective in immediately meeting disaster relief needs, ensuring the Red Cross has the funds to prepare for disasters before they occur.
The American Red Cross is in close coordination with its global Red Cross and Red Crescent partners to assist as needed. The Lebanese Red Cross is working around the clock to provide immediate aid. Emergency Medical Teams and more than 125 ambulances have been deployed to the site of the explosion rescuing injured people and transporting them to medical sites despite some hospitals having been damaged. First aid and triage stations have also been set up to help people with non-life-threatening injuries. Lebanese Red Cross teams have also distributed food, water, hygiene kits, mattresses, masks, gloves and other essential relief items to families over the past 24-hours. The organization is also providing emergency shelter to as many as 10,000 families in the coming weeks and months.