In Wake of Beirut Explosions, CSP Helps Residents Revitalize their Communities
USAID Enables Residents to Generate Income While Cleaning Their Neighborhoods
Weeks after a blast at the Beirut Port decimated large parts of Lebanon’s capital city and its surroundings, three young workers take a break from shoveling their fourth truckload of glass, rubble, and other debris off the street.
“What matters now is that we clean,” says Kloe, 20. Kloe and her two workmates — Fady, 23, and Hasmig, 25 — all come from the neighborhoods that were most heavily affected
by the blasts. Kloe’s house was destroyed, but “mom doesn’t want to leave the neighborhood,” she says. Fady’s father suffered leg and head injuries, and his home was also damaged. Hasmig was staying just a few hundred meters from the blast site, and her windows and doors were blown out.
The three heard that USAID’s Community Support Program (CSP) was partnering with five local organizations — the Rene Moawad Foundation (RMF), Caritas, the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI), Nahnoo, and the Association for Forests, Development, and Conservation (AFDC) — to hire impacted residents to remove debris and recyclables from their neighborhoods. They all signed up through the RMF, joining more than 300 other workers from across the five organizations. After undergoing a CSP-administered training on safety while clearing the debris, they were placed on the same team and received protective gear, equipment, and machinery to help them remove rubble. Together with the other residents hired by CSP, they helped to clear a total of more than 4,000 tons of debris from Beirut’s hardest-hit neighborhoods.
As for their hard-earned money, Kloe and Fady are helping their families rebuild their homes. Hasmig is buying medicine and food for neighbors rendered homeless by the blast. Despite the challenges ahead, they said the work has given them hope.
“People are stopping by, thanking us, and we can really see all the young people making a big difference. We hope to make Lebanon better. We don’t want to leave,” Kloe says.
This activity is part USAID’s initiative to help revitalize and restore blast-affected neighborhoods in Beirut in response to the explosions.