Although the shock of last week’s deadly explosion remains raw, the spirit of resistance of the people of Beirut is admirable, as they help to heal each other’s wounds a little more each day.
On Aug. 4, the explosion of a warehouse in the Lebanese capital filled with nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate took at least 200 lives, also leaving around 6,000 injured and 300,000 people homeless in the massive blast.
Now the streets of Beirut are like war zones, with collapsed buildings, shattered roads, and foul garbage scattered almost everywhere.
The streets are full of people with their scars from the explosion still visible, wearing bandages, with their hands and arms covered, supporting and taking care of each other to help repair and rehabilitate.
The capital is facing a fundamental test in the blast’s aftermath, with a humanitarian tragedy unfolding amid a severe economic crisis and a health system already buckling under the coronavirus pandemic.
But this generous country, which has hosted so many refugees – close to a million refugees from the Syrian war, second only to Turkey – knows well how to show solidarity amid periods of hardship and crisis.
Bad luck, but hope persists
“What happened to us is shocking,” Alfred Khoury, the owner of a logistics firm within sight of the Port of Beirut, where the blast occurred, told Anadolu Agency
He showed how the windows of his office had been shattered by the deadly explosion.
While one of his employees checked around the office for what usable equipment and supplies remain, he continued to tell about that fateful day.
“I think this was the bad luck of Lebanon. We’re so used to such disasters but this was definitely not a normal blast,” he said.
Saying that he was out of the office just 15 minutes before the explosion happened, he said it is like a miracle that they even survived.
He also said two of his employees were in the office that day and both were injured and are now still in the hospital receiving treatment.
“When you look at the streets, you see the spirit of solidarity of the Lebanese. Ten days have passed since the explosion, and people are still helping each other with everything,” he stressed.
According to Khoury, the explosion could be a turning point for Lebanon.
“I am hopeful for the future. I cannot call this explosion a chance for a change, this has become a necessity now.”
He also said he believes developed countries will play a big role in the reconstruction process, at least for now.
“If these countries step in, they will rebuild the port in one month,” he concluded.
Claudette Mecid Muhanne, 60, a tailor who made a living repairing clothes in her small shop in the city’s Gemmayze district, told Anadolu Agency about the shock she lived through during the blast.
Muhanne said that she was working in her shop during the explosion and heard the sound of the blast apparently caused by a fire in the port.
“There was an explosion and the shockwave threw me off my feet and knocked my head onto a lamp hanging above me. After I fell to the ground, there was almost an inch of broken glass on the floor,” she explained.
“These were very terrible moments,” she said. ” We saw many wars, but we never experienced such a situation. This is not natural.”
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