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Beirut explosion: Laila and Jamal’s stories

Laila's home has been destroyed

The Beirut blast has changed hundreds of thousands of lives, with many killed, injured or losing their homes.

Our colleagues from HelpAge Lebanon have met with older people affected by the explosion and shared their stories with us.

76-year-old Laila has lived in Gemmayze all her life. Even after getting married, she and her husband bought a house in the neighbourhood. They have been through different wars throughout the years, but Laila never imagined that her house will be totally destroyed this way.

“I was in my house when the incident happened with my two daughters and two granddaughters. My first thought was to try to protect my family.”

In this crisis, Laila could not get the needed help on the day of the incident since the hospitals and ambulances were overwhelmed and the priority goes to severely injured. “I had to run the streets to get my mother the needed alcohol and pads to clean her wounds” Laila’s daughter said.


Jamal stands in what remains of his shop

59-year-old Jamal lives in Karantina.He has had a furniture store in the middle of Beirut, where is lives, since 1961. His shop got destroyed many times because of the several wars in Lebanon. “It is true that every time I try to rebuild everything from scratch, but this time is different. This time the damage is huge, and the cost is bigger due to the currency inflation.”

Luckily, Jamal was not in the shop when the incident happened but Mohamad, a young man working there stated:

“For a second, I thought that I died. The pressure was huge.”

All the machines got damaged, the glass and even walls fell down in the shop.

“All that I want is to be able to work safely in my own country.”


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Last updated: Oct 30 2020

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