How Virgin Radio Lebanon is supporting the community in Beirut

How Virgin Radio Lebanon is supporting the community in Beirut
Virgin Radio
Headshot of Greg Rose
by Greg Rose
16 August 2020

When Beirut was devastated by explosions on 4 August, Virgin Radio Lebanon found itself in the middle of an unprecedented situation. The radio station, which already played a significant role in the community, effectively turned itself into an evolving directory of ways for people to receive help. 

Najy Cherabieh, Station Manager at Virgin Radio Lebanon, shared his personal experiences in the aftermath of the explosion. “Half of the city has been wiped out,” he said. “At the studios, there is a lot of damage, everything is broken and the studio walls are all out of place. However, everyone is safe.”

Najy highlighted the importance of connecting the community in this time of crisis, noting that many of the hosts are taking shifts on air, then going out on the ground to physically help the people in need. “We will try to rebuild and keep going and will do everything in our power to keep both Virgin Radio Lebanon and Virgin Radio Stars Lebanon on air and help the community. I think we are needed now more than ever.”

The Virgin Radio Lebanon team are doing what they can to support those affected, having seen how devastating this has been for the local community. They are running messages every 10 minutes around the clock on air and covering a range of needs, from giving information about housing and medical support, to assisting those who have lost family or friends. They are urging people to get in touch if they need support or want to highlight relief initiatives.

A wide range of organisations and individuals have been in contact with Virgin Radio Lebanon to spread the word about how they can help, highlighting issues such as medical, food, shelter, donations, reconstruction, NGOs, lost family or friends and pets. The team dedicate a feature on air for each organisation, which is repeated a few times during the day.

As Najy said: “We have made it a point to respect people's pain by not putting people in need on air, but instead try to give exposure to as many organisations, NGOs or individuals who want to help in their relevant field.”

The needs have changed over the past week since the explosion. In the first 48 to 72 hours it was mainly about medical issues, emergency services, finding loved ones and assistance to the Red Cross. This has now shifted to housing, construction, food, medicine, monetary assistance, psychological assistance and children’s needs. The team are continuing these round the clock community service messages non-stop up until next Monday. 

Over the past year, Virgin Radio Lebanon has also used its platform to offer local businesses airtime free of charge with an hourly feature called Made in Lebanon. This has now resumed, alongside the community service messages. Small business owners in Lebanon are being encouraged to get in touch if they’d like to be featured.

Head over to Virgin Radio Lebanon to find out more and go to the Lebanese Red Cross to support people on the ground in Beirut.