It’s a month since one of the largest explosions in history ripped through Beirut.
The investigation into what happened is moving slowly; accountability is far away. The political situation in Lebanon remains very fragile. So what about the people and how are they coping?
Here, a doctor and a musician tell Sky News about the day their city changed and what their prospects are now.
Bachir Ramadan, office worker and drummer
It seemed like a normal working day. After a while we start seeing this hangar on fire and it’s really close by. My office is overlooking the harbour and there is a small window that’s right in front of me and we were just looking at it.
After a few minutes we start seeing black smoke coming out. All I remember after is seeing sparks, and in a few moments, in a few seconds, everything just blew up.
My face was burning. I don’t remember what was happening to my face but it was burning. For a good five minutes I was just on the floor, just shaking because I didn’t know what was what.
I went down the stairs, the stairs is 90% just all blood. I could see my colleagues all going down the stairs, and they all have blood everywhere. We’re just trying to see who’s okay, who’s missing, who’s able to walk.
Because at first no one knew what was going on, everyone thought that I thought that we were only affected. I didn’t know the size of this explosion and the size of the damage until I was able to get up and go down to the street. It wasn’t until then that I realised how huge this is.
I could feel my face burning; I didn’t know exactly what happened. I could see my finger was all torn up, so at that moment we just went down and started walking just to try to get to a hospital.
I was lucky there was someone with a jeep who was driving by who said “hop in, I’ll take you to Geitaoui [hospital]”.
It was just overflowing with people. People were on the floor and most of the people had damages way more than I had.
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People were crying and people shouting, there were doctors and nurses everywhere and people didn’t know what to do. And at that moment there was a nurse who looked at me and she started screaming at me, saying “you need to get stitched, you need to get stitched”. I said “let’s do that”, but she said “I’m sorry but the only thing you can do right now is pray”.
The physical scars will heal, everything’s going to heal. The emotional part is way harder to deal with than the physical part. It’s taking it’s toll. For me, what I’m going through right now is not really easy.
I tend to tear up every time when I listen to music. I still can’t sleep properly. These are things that I’m still passing through, I’m just trying to find ways to cope with all this trauma.
What’s sad is that the government which are supposed to be in charge of the country, they’re just turning a blind eye on the people. And they weren’t the ones who were affected, we were the ones who were affected and it’s just sad to see that no one cares. It’s tough emotionally.
People need answers and people need clarity. People want to know how did this happen and why aren’t they doing anything about it?
Dr Eliane Ayoub, doctor
I wish that I will never live a day like this day again. Even in the civil war it wasn’t like this.
In the civil war we had car explosions. We had 20, 30, maximum 40 injured patients [in one go], not 700 in two hours. All around the world, few hospitals have received 700 in two hours. And they were not small injuries, we had trauma, brain trauma.
I have two hands now but on this night I had 10 hands. And outside was an emergency department on the ground. All the little injuries were outside.
The cleaners, the administrators, the students from medical school, everyone was here to help out. They were amazing, really.
Sometimes I wake up in the night. I ask myself “could we have done better?” It was awful. We are devastated. I am traumatised.
That night, everyone was like a relative to me. The youngest one was here in this room. She was dying here. It was like she was my own child when I heard the father speaking to her. ”My dear Alexeau, all will be okay.”
I was crying because I knew he would never see her again. I knew that she was dying… and the other, and the other, and the other.
It’s too much for a nation to have what we had. From the civil war, the economic crisis, the revolution, the pandemic, the explosion. It’s too much. It’s very difficult to put this behind us.
We have so many kind of injuries – mental, health, economic, the buildings, the houses. We need so many things. Everything is welcome. We need help because I think we can never get out of this situation by ourselves.