Disasters & Accidents

Invisible wounds still unhealed a year after Beirut’s tragedy

Beirut, Aug 2 (EFE).- Almost a year after Beirut’s explosion, Layal still gets nervous every time fireworks go off or the door slams.

It took the 22-year-old months to control the panic attacks she experienced after the blast on 4 August 2020, when tons of improperly stored ammonium nitrate exploded in the port, killing 200 and wounding over 6,500 people.

“My journey of recovery was slow and tough, filled with survivor’s guilt and PTSD,” Layal told Efe, who works as a game developer.

Layal’s mother was accompanying her sister for a medical appointment at a nearby hospital when the explosion happened.

“I opened the door and ran to the streets and noticed everything was destroyed and people were screaming, some were walking like they’re lost and some were heavily bleeding,” she added.

When she arrived at the hospital, the emergency room doors were destroyed, black smoke was coming out of the room and there were injuries and blood “everywhere”.

 After an hour of desperately searching, she received a call: her sister and her mother had survived.

A year on, Layal still loses sense of time, struggles with memory issues and feels like “a prisoner”, even though has begun to appreciate “every second” she spends with her beloved ones.

  Lea Zeinoun, strategic partnership director of NGO Embrace, which operates the National Line of Emotional Support and Suicide Prevention, believes that nearly everyone who experienced explosion in Lebanon has been psychologically affected “one way or another”.

Although most of the explosion-related cases the NGO treats suffer from anxiety, depression and PTSD, the expert pointed out that traumas are “very diverse”.

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