Meet Hagop and Anaheed, two family members affected by the explosion in the Port of Beirut in August
My name is Hagop, I am 90 years old. I am Lebanese and Armenian and I used to be a professional director. I live with my 80-year-old sister Anaheed, who used to design clothes, in this apartment near the port that we have been renting for the past years.
The day of the explosion, we were at home and suddenly we heard sounds from the port that sounded like machine guns. My sister and I went to our bedroom overlooking the port to see what was happening. The sounds were very loud and we felt there were sounds of airplanes too. There was also this huge fire! We got very scared and we quickly went back inside. By the time we arrived at the end of the main corridor, near our entrance, and as soon as I entered our bathroom, suddenly the huge explosion happened and shook everything in the apartment.
The blast was so powerful that it completely destroyed all our windows and doors, and threw my sister in the air, as well as many of our furniture, some of it fell back on my sister afterward and injured her in the back, the legs, and the head.
She was not able to move until people came to help and removed the pieces of furniture that were on top of her. To this day she can barely walk and her back still hurts a lot, despite the medication. Our ears were also damaged because of the explosion.
Overall, all, it is still a miracle that we were not more seriously injured and that we made it without a single broken bone. Had we been anywhere else in the apartment at the time of the explosion, we would surely have died because there are windows everywhere but here.
Most of our furniture and things were damaged in the explosion. For example, our clocks and all our tableware broke. The doors and windows were thrown in the air and destroyed by the blast, including our main entrance door. We slept in front of it for three days until it was fixed, because we were scared we would get robed. It happened to our neighbors upstairs. Some thieves came at night and stole everything that was left inside their apartment and had any value. Now, some NGOs came to fix the windows and the doors, but there is still work to do.
We don’t have any other place to go than this apartment. We have no choice but to stay here. Now people are working hard to try and rehabilitate the building, but it will still take a lot of time. Now winter is around the corner. If it starts raining tomorrow, I bet water will infiltrate all the building and the apartments.
The church has given us vouchers, that we used to buy food from the supermarket. They were also so kind as to give us a new refrigerator and a new oven, since ours were not working anymore since the explosion. Some people from the church are also cooking for us every day and bringing us hot meals for us to eat. I am not able to cook anything right now so the ready food is great, we just need to heat it and then we can eat it. I don’t know how long this situation is going to last and how much we can take, especially at our age. The little savings we had is stuck in the bank and is not worth much anymore anyway. Still, we are thankful, because God protected us!
Our faith is helping us a lot in this difficult time. We have nothing else to hold on to but prayer. We pray for God to keep the evil away. We read from the Bible every morning before doing anything else, and we pray before we go to bed. When I struggle walking, I pray for God to carry me through some more steps. We pray we can walk normally again soon and do not need assistance anymore.