American University of Beirut

Lebanon Relief Project: Bringing urgently needed medical supplies to the people of Beirut

Thursday, September 10, 2020​​​​

“So many people and organizations came together to deliver urgently needed medical supplies to our medical center and partner hospitals in Beirut,” says VP for Advancement Imad B. Baalbaki. “This was a truly wonderful initiative.”

“The outpouring of support from the Lebanese American community is heartwarming,” says Rashal Baz Zureikat, an attorney​ in the offices of O’Hagan Meyer in Chicago, Illinois. “When the explosion happened on August 4, we all wanted to extend a healing hand and moved very quickly to support the hospitals in their darkest moments.” Baz Zureikat, on behalf of the Ghassan and Manal Saab Foundation, and Ambassador Edward M. Gabriel, president of the American Task Force on Lebanon (ATFL), and Jean AbiNader played key roles in mobilizing the many different organizations that came together for the Lebanon Relief Project: Direct Relief who took the lead on the first major donation of medicine, logistics, and shipment, along with Afya Foundation; Jobs for Lebanon, and others, who acted as project coordinators; and Anera that ensured that all the supplies that were contributed were included in the shipment, coordinated closely with FedEx, and is handling distribution in Beirut.

Thanks to their efforts – and the generosity of FedEx, which flew the nearly 56-ton shipment from Memphis, Tennessee to Beirut (by way of Luxembourg) – medical and surgical supplies valued at nearly $13 million have been distributed to AUBMC, including the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon (CCCL); the Lebanese American University Medical Center; Hotel Dieu de France; and the Rafik Hariri University Hospital. The supplies themselves were donated by Direct Relief, Afya Foundation, and other US-based hospitals and donors. The Lebanon Relief Project is already hard at work on the second shipment to be airlifted in September carrying additional critical medicines and supplies requested by major hospitals in Beirut.

“This donation came at an hour of utmost need following the combined calamity of a financial crisis, a pandemic, and the explosion,” explains Dr. Firass Abiad, director of the Rafik Hariri University Hospital “Our thanks and gratitude go to all those involved.”​

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