CNA Staff, Aug 4, 2020 / 04:01 pm (CNA).- A Maronite priest from Lebanon has expressed concern that the country may face food shortages in the wake of Tuesday’s explosion at Beirut’s port.
The explosion “happened at the biggest docks in Lebanon and they also have big reservoirs of wheat, the central reservoirs are there, and these have gone, have gone to ashes. That's another tragedy in the making because they will have shortages,” Fr. Maxim Baz, who is serving in Rome, told CNA Aug. 4.
The blast killed at least 50, and injured thousands more. Officials have not yet determined the cause of the explosions, but investigators believe they may have started with a fire in a warehouse that stored explosive materials. Lebanon’s security service warned against speculations of terrorism before investigators could assess the situation.
Fr. Baz said that “the most important thing is for people to pray for everybody who has been hurt in Lebanon.”
He said his country “has been undergoing for the past decades one tragedy after another, really suffering in silence,” citing a financial crisis, the coronavirus, and the civil war of 1975-90.
“It seems that this country is just trying to come out of the darkness and every time it does it receives another blow,” he lamented.
“A Catholic is always close to those who suffer. That's the distinctive trait of a Catholic and that is a distinctive trait of the Church,” Fr. Baz noted. “Wherever there is suffering, or wherever there is extreme, extreme vulnerability, there the Church is because there God is, actually. So a Catholic can not not be there, at least with their hearts, with their prayers, with their moral support.”
The explosion ignited fires and destroyed buildings in the city’s port area, caused damage across the city, and has flooded hospitals with casualties.
The Custody of the Holy Land tweeted showing damage to its monastery in Beirut, adding that none of its friars were injured and urging prayer for Lebanon.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Footage from our monastery in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Beirut?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Beirut</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Lebanon?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Lebanon</a> after the explosion occurred in that area. <br><br>No one of the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Franciscans?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Franciscans</a> living there were injured. <br><br>Let us pray for Lebanon. <a href="https://t.co/GpFZgM5mUA">pic.twitter.com/GpFZgM5mUA</a></p>— Custodia Terrae Sanctae (@custodiaTS) <a href="https://twitter.com/custodiaTS/status/1290716481014112264?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 4, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Raymond Nader, a Maronite in Lebanon, told CNA: “I just ask for prayers now from everyone around the world. We badly need prayers.”
Hannah Brockhaus contributed to this report.