Disasters & Accidents

Indelible wounds from Beirut’s explosion

By Isaac J. Martín

Beirut, Aug 30 (efe-epa).- Nearly a month after a massive blast struck Beirut, Jad Hardini’s invisible scars have yet to heal as he, like thousands of Beirut’s residents, are still traumatized by the Aug. 4 explosion.

“It was so tragic that I do not think we will be able to forget”, Jad, 33, tells Efe at the family house that was destroyed in Karantina, one of the neighborhoods most-hit by the explosion.

“The trauma does not hit you right after the explosion, it takes its time. After two weeks, three weeks, you are sitting alone, and you start crying because you just remember what happened. So it is very tough mentally. It really destroyed us,” he says.

His entire family was at home when it happened. Now his younger sister refuses to return to the house, which has since been fixed.

“We are really dead inside,” he adds.

According to a preliminary study on the psychological impact of the blast carried out by Strategy & Middle East consultancy found that a total of 80 percent of the people affected by the explosion said they are on alert when they hear a noise, while 79 percent admit they feel depression or weakness.

Mental health has become one of the main concerns of the NGOs working in the aftermath of the major explosion that was detonated by 2,750 tons of improperly restored ammonium nitrate, killing 190 people according to the most recent official figures.

Therefore, the Doctors of the World among others, is present in Karantina in Beirut to provide psychological support to the people affected.

Noelle Jouan, coordinator of the mental and psychological health program for Doctors of the World, visits at least 25 homes in Karantina in Beirut every day.

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