In the autumn of 2020, the Hungarian Embassy of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) and the ÉrMe Network, which unites Christian entrepreneurs and business leaders, decided independently of each other to help Lebanon in its struggle with an economic, political and health crisis, especially their Christian communities. ÉrMe maintains good relations with the President of its Lebanese sister organisation, EDC. The Lebanese Association of Knights of Malta operates six mobile medical units along with several other institutions. Both of them provide perfect contacts for the local work. At its usual Advent Charity Evening, ÉrMe collected more than HUF 1.7 million (USD 6,000), as well as material donations like hospital beds, wheelchairs, walking frames, non-perishable food, disinfectant, and windows to fill a container for sea transportation.

The Hungarian Section of the Order of St John and the Hungary Helps Programme (HHP) of the Prime Minister’s Office, led by Secretary of State Azbej Tristan, participated in the project with donations and assistance in delivery. The transport process has taken longer than expected due to the pandemic and the chaotic situation in Lebanon. The container arrived in the port of Koper, Slovenia, on the 13th January 2021, and the SMOM Embassy in Beirut finally received its contents on the 9th March. Since the explosion in Beirut last August, the State Secretariat of HHP has been planning to provide significant assistance to Lebanese in distress, but has so far found no suitable foreign partner. Within the programme, support usually goes to a religious organisation or institution. Observing the solidarity initiative of the Embassy of SMOM in Hungary and appreciating H.E. Imre Ugron Ambassador’s commitment and effective work for those in need, and their strong community support, the HHP intends to deliver US$ 1 million as a state aid to Lebanon through the services of SMOM Hungary. In terms of invitation for cooperation, the Order set up a two-year aid programme together with the management of Malteser International, and its practical implementation is already under way for the beneficiaries to make a difference.

Anna Popper

Source: Diplomatic Magazine