As the crisis in Lebanon continues to build, the United Nations is warning of a humanitarian catastrophe. "The situation is both alarming and catastrophic. There are about 500,000 people displaced already. The situation is extreme" said Beirut’s UNICEF representative Roberto Laurenti. He further stated, "We are concerned about their conditions, especially because of electricity cuts, lack of water, lack of food and medical supplies and sanitary conditions which could lead to illness." Escalating violence threatens to create dire conditions as the death toll rises and hundreds of thousands of people flee their homes. The international airport, ocean ports, bridges and water pumping stations have all been destroyed. Petrol stations along with fuel depots have been set ablaze and houses have been turned to rubble. U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland, stated that there were also fears about the effects of energy cuts and the destruction of infrastructure with regards to water and sewage, creating a health crisis. Floods of displaced families took refuge in schools, mosques and churches. Within the first week of the conflict, shelters have been filled across the 77 public schools in Beirut, 160 in Mount Lebanon, 25 in the north, 42 in the south and 13 in the Beka’a. For many families at these shelters, there is little to no access for food and basic necessities except what locals happen to bring. What is more troubling is that the United Nations is evacuating all non-essential staff from the country for fear of their own safety. As a result, relief services have been cut off to 260,000 Palestinian refugees who depend on them for aid in Lebanon. Since The Zakat Foundation of America established a branch in Lebanon last year in the Mount Lebanon area, we have staff and volunteers on the ground delivering urgently needed food aid, clean drinking water, blankets, mattresses and basic medical aid. Naturally, our main area of operation is in Mount Lebanon at these public schools that have become shelters for displaced families from Beirut and further south. We are launching a major relief appeal to assist as many families as possible at these shelters. We are appealing today for $250,000 for the immediate and urgent relief efforts to provide food, water, medical care and basic necessities as well as long-term relief efforts to those affected victims in Lebanon. Please give generously in the amount of $250, $100, or any amount you can afford in order to provide helping hands to those displaced families. Please open your heart and give generously because funds are urgently needed as the need for relief is desperate. Donate Now!