Six months after the Beirut blast, the pandemic is pushing Lebanon’s healthcare system and economy to the breaking point. SAT-7’s Beirut team has one message for their fellow Lebanese as they deal with multiple overlapping crises: no matter their suffering, they are not alone… God has not forgotten them.
“It is the hardest thing to turn away a patient because there is no room in your hospital,” says Professor Pierre Yared, General Director at Lebanese University Hospital Geitawi. Speaking on SAT-7 ARABIC, Professor Yared gives an insider view on a crisis hitting headlines across the world: hospitals full; oxygen for sale on the black market; people dying at home or in their cars, without access to care.
On the program, Professor Yared shares that because his hospital is at full capacity, some patients are needing to be transported to hospitals outside Beirut. Speaking directly to viewers, he tries to allay their concerns about seeking treatment. “Call your doctor when you have any symptoms and continue social distancing. And get the vaccine,” he adds. “Don’t believe the disinformation about the vaccine.”
The slow arrival of the vaccine is just one element in a crisis underpinned by Lebanon’s financial collapse and the ongoing impact of the August 4 explosion. “The currency has been devalued by 80 percent. This means we cannot import medical supplies to help with the pandemic. Hospitals were also destroyed in the blast,” says Juliana Sfeir, SAT-7 ACADEMY’s Brand Manager.
On You Are Not Alone, Professor Yared shares that the aftermath of the blast was one of his hardest moments. “All the injured people were naturally not wearing masks, and they were screaming and crying in pain. The most difficult moment was when one was afraid of getting infected with coronavirus, but at the same time had to tend to the injured,” he says.
This special episode is part of the ongoing support being offered by SAT-7 ARABIC and SAT-7 KIDS for those struggling due to the pandemic and the impact of the Beirut blast. The channels’ regular live programs have for the past six months addressed current news, prayed for affected viewers, and helped meet the mental health and education needs of families in lockdown or struggling with trauma.
SAT-7 Lebanon Executive Director Maroun Bou Rached shares that with Lebanon currently locked down due to rising cases, the studio recently closed for one week. “We needed to stop our production because we were at risk of losing our own people to COVID-19,” he says. Thankfully, the studios have been able to reopen and continue broadcasting programs including You Are Not Alone, which helps people to feel a sense of solidarity and hope.
Juliana Sfeir adds, “Through our programs, we raised awareness of the struggles of families in Beirut following the blast, and we have connected viewers with the appropriate help.” She continues, “SAT-7 continues to reach as many people as possible with the message that God has not forgotten us. We are in His hands. And He will bring renewal and a new dawn to our country.”
If you would like to give financial support to help with recovery efforts in Beirut that are still continuing six months after the explosion, go to www.sat7usa.org/donate, specifying in the project designation box the “Lebanese Crisis Fund.” Thank you.