Chairman’s Note: Beirut Relief * “Raising Up Lebanon”
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Over the years, I’ve frequently called on you to support humanitarian efforts to support those in need. I need your help again – and this time it hits very close to home for my family.
For those of you unaware, my wife, Claudia El Khouri Evans, and her family, are natives of Lebanon. It is a country we both hold very dear to our hearts and where many dear friends and family members still reside.
In addition to our own family, my mind immediately went to our many Lebanese friends and business partners both in Lebanon and abroad whom Universal has worked with for decades.
Experts now believe last week’s explosion in Beirut’s port to be one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history; third, behind Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.
The blast was felt as far away as Europe. Hundreds were killed. Thousands injured. Hundreds of thousands are now homeless. Billions of dollars in damage. A once beautiful city, already struggling economically, reduced to rubble.
As horrifying videos and images of the explosion are flooding news networks and social media, I have found the level of destruction and devastation simply hard to comprehend; to see somewhere you love in ruins is a hopeless feeling.
Feedback from news and family on the ground indicate the current situation in Beirut is dire. Nearly every building in the huge blast radius was either destroyed or has significant damage. Essential services like electricity and municipal water are unavailable. The nation’s strategic grain supply was also ruined in the explosion, leaving just a single month of reserves.
To make things worse, all of this is happening with less than desirable political corruption and upheaval; economic unraveling and local currency devaluation, inflation, and inability to repay debt; not to mention the looming health risk of COVID-19.
In the many years I’ve worked in business aviation, I’ve witnessed more disasters and tragedies than I’d like to recall – Tsunamis, terrorism, war, earthquakes, wildfires, and on and on. What I do remember about those events, more so than the destruction, is the way our friends and our industry stepped up to support their fellow man in a time of need.
Claudia and I, along with her Father, Sami El Khouri, and a growing number of key people in Beirut, have set up a fund to provide targeted relief to directly Beirut families in need; those who are not eating, who have no place to live except amongst the rubble of their homes, those with no water, and no medical attention.
If you are willing and interested to join Claudia and I in the effort and provide Financial Support, please send your donations to the below:
Account Name: Raising Up Lebanon
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
383 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Account Number: #758 704 899
ABA: #021 000 021
Often when you donate to disaster relief your money goes into a huge general fund. You’re not really sure how or when it’s being used. Our goal is to get resources to families directly and quickly. Any assistance is appreciated.
On behalf of the El Khouri and Evans family, and all of our Universal Family, I want to express my sincerest condolences to all of those who have been impacted by the explosion.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Lebanon who have a rough road ahead.
Thank you in advance for your generosity and support.
Warmest regards to all of you,
Greg and Claudia Evans