MONTREAL – Montrealers of Lebanese origin are “madly” worried about the fate of their loved ones who may have been affected by the impressive explosion that resounded in Beirut.
“We immediately become very, very mad, it’s madness, because we try to reach all the people we love to find out if they are injured, alive,” said Lamia Charlebois, public relations consultant and founder of the Montreal-Sirop d’arabe Facebook page.
A powerful explosion rocked the Lebanese capital and razed much of the city’s port. The tragedy left tens of people dead and thousands injured.
According to Ms. Charlebois, the telephone networks are saturated because everyone tries to reach relatives at the same time.
She underlines that the Lebanese community is also worried about the state of the country in general, which was already “catastrophic”, according to her.
“It was just that missing,” she said sorry.
Ali Faour, president of the Lebanese-Canadian National Center, himself contacted relatives who live in Beirut. They are safe and sound because they live far from the port, but they say they felt a shock anyway.
“The windows and the furniture moved even though they were several kilometers from the explosion,” he said.
“It’s really sad, what happened, downtown Beirut is almost destroyed,” he added.
According to Mr. Faour, the Lebanese community of Montreal is united and has united despite all its disagreements to assess what it can do to help the country.
Neither Ms. Charlebois, nor Mr. Faour, wanted to advance on the causes of the explosion.
“Here in the diaspora, we almost don’t care about the cause, who did what. We are in total, maximum anxiety, ”said Ms. Charlebois.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Lionel Haddad, microbiologist and coordinator of the Committee for Crisis Management and Biological and Chemical Attacks in Lebanon, explained that the Red Cross was currently on the scene to evacuate the injured as early as possible. possible.
An investigation is also underway to determine the cause of the explosion, and to find out which product caused the explosion.
“It may be a nitrogen product, ammonium nitrate because of the color and the perimeter that the explosion made,” Haddad explained.
Right now, the capital is in chaos because hospitals were damaged by the explosion, he said.
“We are also in a pandemic, we must not forget that. (…) At the same time, we very much fear the results of the COVID screening in two or three weeks since everyone is in contact with everyone now, ”he recalled.
Many Canadian politicians showed their solidarity with the Lebanese people in the wake of this event.
“Canadians are wholeheartedly with the Lebanese today. We think of all those who were injured in this tragic explosion, as well as those who are trying to find a friend or a member of their family or who have lost a loved one, ”said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“We are ready to help you,” he assured.
“Our thoughts are with the Lebanese and all our friends of the Lebanese community very present in Quebec”, added the Premier of Quebec, François Legault, on social networks.
The mayoress of Montreal, Valérie Plante, also wanted to address the Lebanese.
“The images reaching us from Beirut, Lebanon, are terrifying. All my thoughts are with those who are directly or indirectly affected by this terrible explosion, ”she said on social networks.
Martin Leblanc and Vicky Fragasso-Marquis, The Canadian Press