“Shaken” and “distressed” … Lebanese Canadians and Lebanese nationals found themselves speechless and “heartbroken” when they discovered on the Internet the videos of the two powerful explosions that occurred Tuesday in the port of Beirut which have wiped out part of the city center, killing more than 73, according to a provisional report.
«I saw the footage live and I had a visceral reaction it’s like someone punched me in the stomach, I screamed», Says Nathalie Baroud, artist, born to a Canadian mother and a Lebanese father.
Several hospitals in the Lebanese capital were devastated by the power of the blasts and had to evacuate patients to other facilities across the country. A provisional toll shows 73 dead and 3,700 injured.
The blast of the explosions was felt as far as the island of Cyprus about 200 km away.
According to a senior security official of the country, Abbas Ibrahim, the blasts that hit the port of Beirut were due to “explosive materials “Confiscated and stored in a warehouse at the port” For years ».
Both students at the University of Ottawa, Mohamed Rashid and Petra Sbeiti immediately contacted their family and friends who still live there to make sure they were okay.
«When I read the news I was speechless, I was in shock», Testifies Petra Sbeiti, student in law. “The first reaction for most people I think was to contact family and friends and make sure everyone was okay.»
The two students were stunned when they discovered the videos of the explosions circulating on the Internet.
«See what I see on the internet, the videos my family and friends send me are devastating», Adds Mohamed Rashid.
They fear that this tragedy will bring to its knees a country which is currently experiencing a major economic and political crisis and which also has to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
«It’s the last thing we needed in Lebanon», Comments Mohamed Rashid.
«I am completely overwhelmed and I am very scared, it hurts a lot. And things are going badly in Lebanon and for a long time. There is no social safety net as we know it here. Ordinary life is really going to be shaken up», Apprehends Mrs. Baroud.
Never seen since the civil war
The tragedy that struck Beirut also reminds them of the dark times that the country has already lived. “Since 1975, civil war, etc., we’ve never seen that“, Believes Nathalie Baroud.
«It’s really shocking, I lived during the war in Lebanon in 2006 so I saw a lot of things and I think people who saw this in Lebanon are going to have a lot of difficulty understanding what is going on. passed and continue with a picture like that in their head”, Believes Mohamed Rashid.
To help his compatriots, he decided to open his apartment in Beirut to those who no longer have housing.
«There are a lot of people who need help and currently have no place to sleep. So if anyone knows of people in need I can help that way», He concludes.
With information from Yasmine Mehdi