On August 4, 2020, an explosion occurred at the Port of Beirut in Lebanon, killing more than 200, injuring more than 7,000, and destroying or damaging an estimated 300,000 homes.
The Middle East/Africa North Area Presidency extended heartfelt sympathies after the explosion and Latter-day Saint Charities provided nearly $2 million USD in aid. A recent article by Newsroom (Middle East) shares stories from Latter-day Saints affected by the explosion and how, despite the devastation, they still saw God’s hand.
One blessing was the preservation of the Saints’ meeting place. A small congregation meets in Beirut on one floor of a high-rise building. The floors above were damaged by the explosion as was the retail store below, but the Church’s meeting rooms were untouched.
District President Maroun Akiki was at work when the explosion occurred, sitting at a desk with large front windows. Though there was debris all around him and he saw injured people running through the streets, he was not hurt. His wife, Roula, was traveling on a highway and the explosion pushed her car across two lanes, but she was also unharmed.
Some members in the area did have minor damage to their homes, but no one in the branch was injured according to the local Relief Society president, Somia Mohana.
The former district president, Karim Assouad, told Newsroom, “Everything is uncertain, unstable. But we know how to survive here in Lebanon.”
Read more accounts from people in Lebanon at Newsroom (Middle East).