Disasters & Accidents

Uncertain future amid Beirut´s rubble

Beirut, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- The Beirut explosion blew away the store, the house and life Bilal Hassan had built over 25 years in the Lebanese capital.

A couple of weeks after the Beirut Port blast, everything remains in pieces, his family still suffers the trauma and he spends his time waiting for someone to show up and help.

Hassan sleeps on the couch inside what he has left of his apartment, located in the same building as his destroyed shop.

Today, a small piece of paper hangs on the building. It reads: “This building is uninhabitable. It is at risk of collapse.”

He is one of nearly 300,000 people whose houses were destroyed by a shockwave triggered when nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate at a storage unit at the Beirut port when up in a huge explosion.

Today, the store that once provided for the neighborhood is destroyed, his inventories are useless.

Hassan is still waiting for his wife and son to be discharged from the hospital and has sent another son to stay with grandparents in Syria.

“I came to Lebanon back in 1995; my life’s work for over 25 years was gone in a second,” the Syrian-born, 48-year-old Hassan tells Efe.

At the time of the blast, he was sitting at his desk in the store when he heard a small explosion.

“I went out of the store to look at what was happening I thought it was an air strike, as the first small explosion happened I ran to hide under the tree and within seconds the massive explosion took place,” he adds.

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