Lebanese were reeling after a massive explosion at Beirut’s port destroyed homes, businesses and livelihoods across the capital, and Catholic leaders immediately took action and called for international support.

Aid groups say the blast Aug. 4 threatens to open a new humanitarian crisis in an impoverished nation that hosts hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and is already struggling to stay afloat amid an economic collapse and soaring rates of poverty and unemployment.

The explosion destroyed numerous apartment buildings, potentially leaving many homeless at a time when Lebanese have lost their jobs and savings due to the currency crisis.

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