PSI staff and affiliates in Lebanon are still in shock following the explosion on 4th August which caused widespread damage across Beirut, leaving over 150 people dead and 5,000 injured. 300,000 people remain homeless.
Colleagues Joseph Merhi, Muhammad Abbas, Imad Zahredine and Tharwat Hoteit from the Beirut Port Syndicate died in the blast. The union office, building and the whole port infrastructure was destroyed. While grieving for their colleagues, the Syndicate formed a cell to manage the crisis and has attempted to reopen parts of the port to secure basic needs and foodstuffs for the population.
The union building of the Workers Union of the Electricity of Lebanon, together with the electricity institution’s building were destroyed. Many workers were injured and three union staff members, Marie Tawk, Zeina Shamoun and Claudia Lakis, were killed.
There was also extensive damage to the PSI office, situated at 10 km from the site of the explosion, where all the windows and door were shattered.
Public Services International will offer financial assistance to PSI affiliates in Lebanon to support them in this difficult time. The explosion has come at a time when the people of Lebanon were already suffering from a severe economic crisis. We invite our affiliates worldwide to send a donation by bank transfer to:
Account holder: Internationale des Services Publics
Account No. 298 630 310 690 0
Swift code: BCLRCHBB
IBAN CH72 0844 0298 6303 1069 0
Banque Cler SA
CH-1211 Genève 3
Or you can also make your donation via Paypal: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=T7N9XBY5AADP4&source=URL
(please use this link if you are planning to ask for donations via PayPal on your own website)
Please mark your transfers “Solidarity Lebanon”.
Your donations will help the families of those who have died/disappeared and will pay for funeral costs. They will also help the unions to rebuild their offices and reconstruct a safe work area for union workers. PSI is presently in discussions with staff and affiliates in Lebanon about the best way to support their fight for transparency and democracy.
We thank members of PSI who have already contacted our Beirut office to express their solidarity and offer help.
The message from Lebanon is:
“The explosion turned Beirut into a city of rubble. The features of its buildings disappeared in the surrounding neighbourhoods, leaving devastation and destruction.
The Lebanese people are shocked, are crying their dead, and they are angry. They want to know who is responsible for this explosion and who has neglected their lives and their livelihood, and they are demanding that those responsible be brought to justice.”