BREAKING: Lebanon declares “state of emergency.” Explosions leave 300,000 homeless. Damages could total $5 billion. Pope Francis and Evangelical leaders call for urgent prayer for people of Beirut.


Lebanese President Michel Aoun and his cabinet on Wednesday declared a “state of emergency,” as the magnitude of the devastation in Beirut became more clear by the hour.

“The governor of Lebanon’s Beirut, Marwan Abboud, said on Wednesday that the value of damages caused by the explosion which shook the capital ranges between $3 billion and $5 billion,” reported Al-Arabiya, citing the Lebanese National News Agency.

“I think there are between 250,000 and 300,000 people who are now without homes,” Abboud said.

Hundreds of Beirut residents are still missing at this hour.

“Pope Francis has called on people to pray for Lebanon in the aftermath of Tuesday’s deadly explosion,” reported CNN. 

  • “Yesterday in Beirut, near the port, there were massive explosions causing dozens of deaths, wounding thousands and causing serious destruction,” the Pope said in his weekly General Audience on Wednesday, from the library of the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City.
  • “Let us pray for the victims, for their families; and let us pray for Lebanon so that, through the dedication of all its social, political and religious elements, it might face this extremely tragic and painful moment and, with the help of the international community, overcome the grave crisis they are experiencing.”


Other Catholic leaders called for prayers, as well.

  • “We ask your nation to carry Lebanon in its hearts at this difficult stage and we place great trust in you and in your prayers, and that the Lord will protect Lebanon from evil through your prayers,” said Father Miled el-Skayyem, a Lebanese priest, according to a report by the Catholic News Agency. 

Nabil Costa, executive director of the Lebanese Baptist Society, sent out an email describing his city laying in “apocalyptic ruin” and providing a list of ways that Evangelicals around the world can be praying for the people of Beirut at this hour:

“The massive blast that took place at the port of Beirut late in the afternoon today left an important part of the city laying in apocalyptic ruin — the rumble of the explosion was felt all the way to Cyprus,” Costa wrote.

“Beirut looks like a war zone as the devastating shockwave shattered windows and vitrines sending debris and glass flying in all directions,” he added. “This calamity could not have come at a worse time for a country on the brink of financial collapse and social implosion while the number of coronavirus cases have surged in recent days. The reasons behind the explosion are still unknown.”

Among his prayer requests:

  • Please pray for those who have lost their homes and loved ones so that they may find comfort and healing.
  • Please pray for the doctors, nurses and paramedics who are caring for the injured.
  • Please pray for the rescue teams that are trying to find missing family members and neighbors.
  • Please pray for people who are in places of responsibility as they manage the catastrophic human and economic consequences.
  • Please pray for the Church as it seeks to comfort and serve the distressed and brokenhearted.
  • Please pray for the People of God as they seek the Lord and humbly cry out to Him for mercy.
  • Pray for LSESD/MEBO family of ministries and in specific for the Beirut Baptist School and the Gateway Bookshop, which suffered important material damage and for the staff who have been injured by the glass debris.



[Photo credits: Hurriyet Daily News]

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