Dutch donate €11.5 million for Beirut explosion victims during fundraiser
Netherlands residents donated a massive 11,451,558 million euros to the Giro555 campaign to help the victims of a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, including about seven million euros on Friday where broadcasters shared fundraising messages and special programming throughout the day. Before the national campaign day began, around four million euros had already been donated.
At least 158 people were killed in a massive explosion at a port warehouse in Beirut on August 4. Among the dead is Dutch government employee Hedwig Waltmans-Molier. Over 5 thousand people were injured and an estimated 250 thousand people were left homeless.
Foreign Development Minister Sigrid Kaag said that donating was a sign of "our solidarity and support to the Lebanese population and all the people there. The country has been badly affected." She said it was also a way of giving back to the Lebanese people for the shelter they have provided to many, including Syrian refugees.
"We must be there now for the people of Lebanon. We do this as a cabinet, of course, but also together, as a country. Let us stand shoulder to shoulder for the victims of Beirut so that there is hope after the despair," said Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
The money raised will be used for emergency aid, including providing shelter, water and food to the people affected by blast. Psychological aid will also be provided to young people, and financial support given to families living below the poverty line.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the fundraising day could not have the same character as such campaigns in the past and had to happen largely online. A small action center was set up in Studio 47 in Hilversum, from where a panel of famous Dutch people, including Giel Beelen and Jorgen Raymann, accepted telephone donations.
As Netherlands residents could not visit the action center to make their donations, a Giro555 collection bus traveled from there to Hilversum, Blaricum, Almere Strand, Naarden, Bussum and Leidsche Rijn in Utrecht to take donations.
The NPO national public broadcasters, RTL, Talpa Network and Facebook all supported the action day and dedicated time to it on their platforms.