Debbie Dingell, U.S. Representative for Michigan's 12th congressional district since 2015, a district with a high percentage of Lebanese-American citizens, addressed the Secretary of State in an urgent official letter on Oct 16, urging immediate assistance to Lebanon that greatly suffered from the fires.
“The fires have caused irreparable damage to Lebanon’s nature as well as its residents, including American citizens who reside in Lebanon,” said Dingell. “When your friend’s house is on fire you don’t ask what caused the fire. Instead, you do all you can to help. That is the current situation we’re facing.”
While Lebanon was battling the wildfires early this week, and the fires were spreading in numerous parts of the country, Dingell was acting from her side for her country to help.
According to Press and Guide, Dingell sent her letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mike Green, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), “urging full assistance from the US government to combat the devastating wildfires in Lebanon,” and for the “U.S. government to assist the Lebanese government in efforts to address the wildfires across Lebanon.” Her letter came as follows:
Dear Secretary Pompeo and Administrator Green:
This letter is in regard to an issue of urgent concern in Lebanon with the spreading of forest fires in the country, which is endangering their national security and natural resources. The wildfires started in Lebanon’s western mountains and have reached regions south of Beirut.
The destruction is causing irreparable damage to Lebanon’s nature and assets, as well threatening the well-being of its residents, including American citizens who reside in Lebanon.
Lebanon is famous for its natural attractions, and the damage caused by the wildfires will have an impact for years to come. The first human casualty was a volunteer firefighter in Al-Shouf Cedar Nature Reserve. Many residents are being forced to flee their homes, while others are unable to flee.
The people of Lebanon and the people of the United States share strong bonds and, their security relationship with the United States is critical. These bonds are strong because we share the same values – an emphasis on peace, tolerance, and building a better future for our children.
As a Member of Congress with a large Lebanese-American constituency, this letter is to request you take urgent action to address this situation and that any assistance, resources, and aid available be provided to the fullest extent possible.
I would ask that you keep me appraised of actions the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development is taking to address this serious situation. Your attention to these concerns is critical and I standby ready to assist you in any way.
The letter was cc-ed to: The Honorable Elliot Engel, Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
While our brave men and women in the civil defense, army, and firefighting department have succeeded in extinguishing all the wildfires, we stand in expectations that the United States, including the USAID, takes Dingell’s letter and the Lebanese-American citizens in the US, into utmost consideration, and assist Lebanon in the difficult environmental aftermath we are now tackling.
That said, we thank US Representative Dingell for her concerns and efforts in urging her country to lend its assistance.