Australian Lebanese Medical Association Report
Fundraising Efforts to Lebanon
July 2020 to June 2021
Lebanon has been and is currently in economic and political turmoil which has severely impacted on the health and wellbeing of a major portion of the Lebanese people. It was accelerated by the Beirut port explosion. To complicate matters the Covid- 19 situation in Lebanon has added a major impact to the health and wellbeing of the citizens of Lebanon further compounding their plight. The Lebanese Health sector is on its knees and with subsidies to be lifted on many items of food and medicine it has brought Lebanon and its people to a position of severe need and requiring urgent assistance.
What has the Australian Lebanese Medical Association undertaken to Help Lebanon and its Citizens?
The Australian Lebanese Medical Association has been extremely proactive in all its efforts to aid the Lebanon and its people in their medical and humanitarian plight.
1. Lebanon Food Appeal – July to October 2020
Prior to the Beirut port explosion ALMA commenced a food appeal to help the economically disadvantaged in Lebanon. The urgency was made greater with the explosion.
Through a national community appeal ALMA raised $59,251.85 for this food appeal. All this fund was transferred to Lebanon to purchase and distribute 1770 food boxes with each box at $28.50 US. A further 1275 food portions and cooked food were distributed to displaced people from the Beirut explosion who were living in schools, community buildings, who were homeless. The distribution was co-ordinated with multiple charity groups throughout Lebanon and the Red Cross. The distribution was predominantly in Beirut but also extended to North and South Lebanon in areas desperately in need.
ALMA and the International Lebanese Medical Association were responsible for the distribution of the food boxes and the food parcels. We had a supplier who made up the boxes for us as well as cooking the food and distributed them on our behalf to the appropriate areas of need.
2. ALMA – TOLL Australia Food Appeal – September/October 2020
In collaboration with Toll Australia, ALMA embarked on a drive seeking food donations from corporate Australia.
This was a hugely successful drive with donations received from multiple businesses and these included:
60 tonnes of sugar
1 tonne of wheetbix
5 tonnes of longlife milk
3 tonnes of flour
2 tonnes of pasta
1 tonne of chickpeas
The food was then packed into boxes and given to 25 charities within Lebanon to distribute to needy families residing throughout Lebanon. The packaging was undertaken by the Lebanese Army and then given to the charities.
This was shown on MTV news within and outside of Lebanon. This was also shown on Channel 9 news Australia.
3. ALMA-TOLL-EBOS Medical Supplies- September 2020
Once again in partnership with the Toll group of companies and EBOS, ALMA obtained over 2 tonnes of medical supplies and 3 boxes of surgical supplies donated by the Governor General of Australia’s doctor. They were packaged into 7 pellets and airfreighted free of charge by QATAR airlines.They were donated to all the hospitals and medical centers in Lebanon affected by the explosion. The distribution of the medical supplies was overseen by ALMA and ILMA following a zoom conference with the hospitals involved- St George University Hopsital, Rosaire Hospital, Gitawi Hospital and Karantina Hospital, the Head of the Order of Physicians in Beirut and Tripoli and the Lebanese Army.
This was discussed on the ABC radio National evening program interview discussing the role of ALMA with its aid effort in Lebanon and on Channel 9 news Australia. It was following the appeal on the radio program that QATAR airlines came to our aid and flew the medical equipment free of charge.
4. Hospital Medical Equipment- December 2020 to current
There were 4 major hospitals - St George University Hopsital, Rosaire Hospital, Gitawi Hospital and Karantina Hospital, and countless medical centers were devasted by the Beirut port explosion. ALMA embarked on obtaining medical equipment for Lebanon and over $2 million worth of donated equipment was obtained and these included:
Blood pressure machines
Disposable medical equipment
Ultrasound equipment for diagnosis
Infant incubators and ventilators
Diabetes testing kits
A zoom meeting was organised by ALMA involving all the major hospitals destroyed by the explosion- St George University Hopsital, Rosaire Hospital, Gitawi Hospital and Karantina Hospital, Head of the Order of Physicians in Beirut and Tripoli, ILMA representatives in Lebanon and the Lebanese Army. The medical equipment has been distributed to all the major hospitals and medical centers under ALMA’s approval. There is a further donation that has arrived in Lebanon dedicated to the hospitals and medical centers in North Lebanon and this allocation will take place this week.
5. Medication cups- Feb 2021
One million medication cups were donated from a generous supplier to ALMA. These medications cups are used to place medicines and given to patients to take when in hospital. They have been distributed throughout Lebanon to hospitals and medical centers.
6. Medications for Lebanon- November 2020- current
There is a catastrophic shortage of medications in Lebanon. ALMA has been very active in seeking community donations to purchase medications to donate to various hospitals, medical centers as well as individuals and families from relations in Australia.
We have to date raised $35,652 for our medication appeal to Lebanon and last month purchased $30,000 worth of medications which have been sent to hospitals and medical centers throughout Lebanon- the specifics of the recipients are available. This was over 700 kilograms of medicines and packaged into 62 boxes.
We have assisted with sending over 7 tonnes of medications to individual families or targeted hospitals/medical centers throughout Lebanon over the last 7 months and we are continuing to do so. Any individual can ask ALMA to assist in sending medications to families or friends. The medications are purchased at wholesale price, sent by plane, are cleared by the Lebanese Army and then transported to their destination.Specifics of the multiple recipients are available. More than ever Lebanon is now in desperate need of medications which are in short supply and with government subsidies no longer to be provided.
There is also a go fund me page for purchasing medications by ILMA which ALMA will administer in purchasing medications from Australia and sending to Lebanon- to date has raised $4650.
7. Oxygen Concentrators- Feb 2021- current
ALMA managed to acquire oxygen concentrators to send to Lebanon. They are Philips oxygen concentrators costing $1300 delivered by airplane to Lebanon to their destination. A community appeal has been launched and to date we have sent over 30 concentrators.
8. Baby Milk Formula for Lebanon Appeal- current
ALMA is now launching a baby milk formula appeal for Lebanon. There is major shortage of baby formula milk and ALMA launch an appeal in the second week of June to send baby milk formula to Lebanon which is urgently needed.
Webinars by ALMA
ALMA has led with a number of crucial webinars both international and nationally. We had an initial Webinar following the Beirut port explosion whereby all the major health leaders were brought together to establish a health crisis committee. There have been national and international Covid 19 meetings held initiated by ALMA.
Expenses Paid by ALMA
The aircraft and shipping of the medical equipment, medications and food has been undertaken with a total of $22,124.38 paid as of 13th of June 2021. Our donations and expenses as mentioned in this report are all open to be assessed by our members and our Lebanese community.
ALMA has been very active and will continue to be active in assisting the people of Lebanon in medical and humanitarian strategies.
The Australian Lebanese community needs a big THANK YOU for all their efforts in donating to ALMA’s humanitarian efforts and supporting ALMA in all that we strive to achieve in helping Lebanon. THANK YOU !!
We must always strive to do good in everything we do however big or small it may be. Lebanon is on its knees, and we must help in whatever way. Our donations may seem a drop in the ocean at times, but we try to help. In times of trouble goodness must always come to the fore. It is the Lebanese people who suffer and continue to suffer, and they need us. We will not desert them. You are all in privileged positions and you all can do good. Think positive and positivity will flourish. Please let us never give up on our beloved parents, brothers and sisters in Lebanon.
I want to thank all the ALMA committee chapters and, you the ALMA members throughout Australia in all your efforts in supporting and promoting our charitable works. Please continue your fantastic efforts.
I am so proud of you all- well done!
Dr Walid Ahmar
National President of ALMA
13th June 2021