Exclusive: First Person Account of Beirut Explosions

More than two weeks after Beirut explosions that left more than 200 dead, 6,000 injured and 200,000 people homeless or living in homes with no windows or doors, News Sense columnist Nibedita Sen gets the first person account from a survivor, who was close to the port when the catastrophic explosion of Lebanon took place on 4th August 2020.

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Angelique

Angelique Sabounjian, 39, was in a coffeehouse called “Gemmayzeh” near the port area when she heard an initial explosion. “I was close to the port in a coffee shop when we were hit twice by something like a tornado. It was like a sandstorm, I could not see anything. When things were clear, everything was shattered,glass pieces everywhere,houses broken, everything was devastated,” Angelique narrated. 

She left just as the massive, second explosion happened. The young entrepreneur from Beirut, thought that it was a war and ran for her life. “I kept walking twenty minutes when I reached the nearest Redcross but the center was demolished as well. Having no other choice I had to keep walking towards the hospital. The streets were blocked, the cars couldn’t move, there were injured people all over who were hit by stones and glass pieces which came down from the buildings,” she described. 

Doctors told her she swallowed more than a litre of blood. “I had to walk forty-five minutes nonstop while bleeding. Unable to breathe from my nose while walking I had to breathe from my mouth and I almost bled two-three litres of which more a litres I drank myself, rest spilled. That was horrendous,” she said. 

“The beautiful country and its beautiful people are being taken hostage by corrupt politicians. We don’t need them. In any way they are incompetent. Eversince the incident, people are helping each other, cleaning up together, there’s so much solidarity,” Angelique concluded.

According to a BBC report, the Beirut explosion has caused damage worth $3 billion, with the country’s collective loss estimated at $15 billion. Large parts of the capital city have been devastated.

Beirut’s port has resumed partial operations to secure goods for local markets, although it has fuelled popular anger and upended politics in crisis-hit Lebanon. Lebanon’s government has resigned amid mounting anger over the explosion on August 11.

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