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In their own words: Kamal and Georges talk about life after the Beirut blast

Kamal with a HelpAge Lebanon worker

In the Beirut blast, thousands of people have been injured and hundreds of thousands have lost their homes, including many older people. Our colleagues in Beirut, from HelpAge in Lebanon, met two older men who told us how the explosion had changed their lives.

80-year-old Kamal lives in the al Nahr river area of Beirut, near the port where the explosion happened. He lives with his wife and a daughter who is sick. He stopped working years ago because of his age, and his family are struggling financially. He told us his wife has hypertension and his daughter suffers from brain impairments.

“We were home when the incident happened. I was scared. Scared to lose my family. All the glass is now on the floor even the doors got broken.”

Through everything that has happened in Lebanon over the years, Kamal has never lost hope - until now.

“I do not have hope in this country anymore, we are counting the days to die.”

He is being helped in various different ways and humanitarian organisations are offering cash assistance and food. But despite this, Kamal’s house is still damaged, and his wife is in need of medication: “We need money to survive.”

He has one message for the world: “What happened is unacceptable. This is a disaster for the human being, not only in Lebanon but for the world as well”.

Georges, 67, lives in Gemmayze, the area next to the port where the blast occurred. He lost his barbershop because of the explosion as well as his home but has a more hopeful outlook.

“Although what happened is devastating, in 67 years of living in the area, this is the first time that I’ve seen all these young people standing up for the affected people and helping each other to overcome this crisis. The amount of love is indescribable, all are united, there is no difference between nationalities, religions, sects, political point of views…this is the Lebanon we want.”

Although his shop was totally destroyed by the explosion, he is sleeping in there now, since it is in better shape than his house.

“My major need now is for money, I need money to fix my house and my shop.”

Despite this disaster, Georges is still hopeful that with the help of the younger generation, Beirut and Lebanon will rise again.

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Last updated: Oct 30 2020

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