Animal welfare charity Animals Lebanon is reuniting animals and their owners following the explosion in Beirut.
The explosion, which took place at the Beirut port warehouse last Tuesday, left more than 200 people dead and 5,000 injured. The damage has a six-mile radius surrounding the Lebanese capital’s port area.
It damaged up to 300,000 buildings, including Animals Lebanon’s main office, which was 2.5 miles from the center. Some of the cats located at the headquarters were injured by broken glass. They received immediate veterinary treatment and are being cared for by the team.
Teams from Animals Lebanon are currently working 24 hours a day searching destroyed properties for trapped, hurt, and missing animals. The charity has also set up a dispatch for owners to report lost animals in Beirut.
Working with more than 200 volunteers from all over the country, Animals Lebanon has now reunited over 70 animals with their guardians.
Jason Mier, the Executive Director of Animals Lebanon, said that the organization aims to provide assistance and care to “every single animal injured or lost in the explosion.”
He added that reuniting companion animals with their families was “making people happy” during an “overwhelming time.”
In addition to reuniting separated families and their companion animals, Animals Lebanon is rescuing and rehoming animals as normal. It has received additional local, national, and international support—including from groups such as the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
In the aftermath of the #BeirutExplosion, one group is looking out for the city's lost and hurt pets. This is the heartbreaking reunion between a cat mom and her furbaby who volunteers say, was found stuck inside a car. 🎥: @AnimalsLebanon pic.twitter.com/uMX7VMpkUJ
— Alisha Ebrahimji (@AlishaEbrahimji) August 7, 2020
Founded around 12 years ago with a modest $500 investment, Animals Lebanon is now the most recognized animal welfare organization in Lebanon and the Middle East.
The Beirut disaster follows an unprecedented economic crisis in Lebanon and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Miers explained that, because of this, local donations “are impossible” and that it is difficult to access funds in the organization’s bank account.
“Despite the difficult economic time we believe it is only right to spend where we
can now to help with these cases,” continued Mier. “But this is money that was not budgeted for.”
Mier said that donating directly to the charity via PayPal is the most effective way to support animals in Beirut. Animals Lebanon works against illegal trafficking, closes zoos and circuses, builds shelters, and rescues thousands of animals every year.
The charity also drafted the Animal Protection and Welfare Law and lobbied all levels of government until its introduction in 2017—protecting countless animals nationwide. The bill protects companion animals from abuse and bans owning wild or endangered animals.