A Bridge of Medicines for Lebanon

3 Dec 2021 | Life

By Christmas two loads of medicines and powdered milk will get to Beirut. They are the result of a cooperation between networks and associations in Italy and Lebanon engaged in assisting the chronically ill. The logistic collaboration of Loppiano.


“Tell me the truth. What gift would you wish for?” “The most useful gift would be to send medicine,” was the answer on the phone that Daniele Richa gave last April, in the middle of lockdown, to Elisabetta Mei, a teacher. Daniele is Elisabetta’s Lebanese friend living in Beirut. The situation in Lebanon remains problematic. “We are in the third year of a severe economic recession,” Msgr. Cesar Essayan, Beirut vicar apostolic of the Latin Catholic Church, said in August. “There is a chronic shortage of fuel and electricity, but also of essential medicines and powdered milk for infants.”
The good news is that by Christmas five containers of medicines and 3,000 lbs. of powdered milk will get to Beirut notwithstanding the many difficulties encountered. Starting with the shipment which became possible, thanks to the Italian Air Force which carries out regular flights in support of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Lebanon. Unavoidable blockade at the Customs? The Lebanese Red Cross managed to obtain exemption from the high Customs fees to be paid. Where to find a suitable storage facility? The local branch of a multinational pharmaceutical company is ready to collect the shipment from the airport, store it in its warehouses and facilitate distribution to volunteers who deliver the medicines to individual families
This is the result of a “bridge to Beirut,” which has also involved Loppiano. In fact, the citadel houses the collected quantities of medicines and powdered milk in Lionello Bonfanti Business Park.
A dream come true. Danièle Richa’s answer on the phone to Elisabetta’s question was born from having made her own – recalls the Lebanese professor – “the cry of a colleague who had to choose between taking medicine for his father and letting his mother die or vice versa”. Danièle drew up a list of indispensable medicines and Elisabetta made contacts with pharmacies, doctors and acquaintances. But on August 4, 2020, the big warehouse in the port of Beirut exploded. Goodbye shipments. Since then, only small packages are carried in the suitcases of those flying to Lebanon.


Elisabetta e Danièle


In the meantime, Danièle has set up a network of people who survey the needs of the sick and then distribute medication based on monthly requirements. From her home in Massarosa, near Viareggio, Elisabetta has built an increasingly organized network. They are two networks from the masses, “called to a delicate and heavy commitment of solidarity – underlines Luigi Triggiano, doctor in Arezzo and national coordinator of this operation of drugs collection -, because they propose to guarantee the continuity of care to people affected by chronic diseases, from diabetes to various heart diseases, to neurological and psychiatric diseases. It is very risky, in fact, to interrupt the delivery of medicines”.
The search for medicines is therefore not generic, but responds to precise requests from volunteers who visit the sick in Lebanon. The network in Italy now involves 12 regions and involves citizens and doctors, pharmacists and drug banks. Last July, a group was set up to bring together all those (networks and associations, including those of various Churches and Christian communities) working in this type of assistance in Lebanon and Italy. In our Country, the John Paul II Foundation and New Humanity of the Focolare Movement are collaborating.

If you want to give a hand to “A bridge for Lebanon”

  • – For those who wish to receive more information, participate in the initiative, involve other people, please contact Elisabetta Mei (aggiornamei@gmail.com).

    – For those who want to contribute to the project with a donation

    Subject accredited by the Focolare Movement – Italy :
    Via Carlo Spinola 18 – 00154 Rome, tel 06/5110354
    IBAN : IT42X05018032000017108218
    Causal: donation project A bridge for Lebanon

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