When President Don heard the news from Beirut about the dreadful explosion his first instinct was to contact fellow Rotarians there. That day he emailed President Habib of Beirut Cosmopolitan Rotary Club expressing his shock and absolute disbelief at the appalling catastrophe. Don asked what we could do to assist and assured Habib that, although distant physically, we were with him in spirit.
Since then we have put Habib in contact with our good friend Maggie Tookey of Edinburgh Direct Aid. Her team has flown into Beirut with a group of Syrian refugees (who they have retrained as carpenters and joiners) and structural engineers. They are co-working with Germany’s Green Berets, making windows and doors to urgently restore shelter and Covid security for as many people as possible.
Edinburgh Rotary is contributing £1500 to allow Maggie to continue buying timber and glass. Rotary Beirut Cosmopolitan are now working with Maggie and immediately contributing to her work themselves.
Early September 2020 update available here
Text of email received from maggie Tookey late September 2020:
"Still here. Still working hard.
We passed our own little milestone here a few days ago having repaired, replaced with new, or glazed almost 1,100 windows and doors and rising since the 10th August when we were partnered with the Green Helmets. It's difficult to give an accurate translation into family numbers because numbers of windows and doors needed vary a lot and the GH just kept a record of window and door numbers.
Since the Green Helmets left we have kept an account of households who have had their apartments secured and made watertight by the EDA team and this is now approaching 200 families. We have repaired, glazed or replaced with new, almost 600 doors and windows.
It doesn't sound a lot in the grand scheme of things but it has only been possible to complete this number with a team who continues to work seven days a week from 7am until 6pm.
Many families have required a large number of windows plus frames and 2 outside doors to be replaced if they were closer to the blast site so the work load for the team has been great - then there's all the assessment and fitting needed in each household before each job is complete.
The amount of work has not diminished and this is making it very hard to bring the project to any sort of closure. We have partnered with other local NGO's who are also trying to mend smashed walls and internal damage. They have come to rely on us for their own workload with windows, glass and doors and we just can't turn them away. They're also hard working volunteers and they support us if we need some plastering or cement work around a new door frame. We also can't turn those away who bring us their broken doors and frames balanced precariously on the top of some beat up car desperately needing help because the coordination system has failed to help them.
So we continue on but the team are very tired now and we must start to try and wind up the work."
8th October 2020 - Maggie Tookey has sent this harrowing report of 'One Day in Beirut'