Journey to the afflicted Beirut, one year after the deadly explosion

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The wounds in Lebanon remain open for exactly one year after the deadly explosion that took place in the port of Beirut. Hundreds of dead, thousands injured, a large number of homeless people make up the heavy burden, while serious financial problems continue to plague the country.

Speaking to the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency, the Lebanese – with Greek roots – journalist George Eid (George Ind) describes with his own eyes what is happening in the last year in the city that was once called the “Paris of the East”.

“The situation in Lebanon remains very difficult one year after the catastrophic explosion in Beirut,” he said. The calendar showed August 4, 2020, when an explosion in the port of Beirut shook Lebanon and the planet, leaving behind more than 200 dead, thousands injured and a country with hitherto unhealed wounds. A fire in a warehouse where tons of ammonium nitrate were stored was the cause of the disaster but, as George Ind explains, to this day no responsibilities have been assigned by Justice, as one would expect, after an event that took not only the buildings in an extensive geographical radius around the port, but also society itself.

He and Rana, also a journalist wife, chose to leave Lebanon and settle in Dubai, in an effort to secure a better future for their then-newborn daughter, whom they have chosen to name Eleni, demonstrating in this way their great love for Greece. They have left relatives and friends behind and do not stop worrying about their daily lives.

Problems and difficulties – People were left homeless

“The situation in Lebanon is far from promising today,” says Lebanese journalistunderlining the many problems with health services, the difficulties that many people still face, whose homes have been extensively damaged by the deadly explosion, and the power outages that citizens are experiencing this hot summer, after from an equally difficult winter.

“Several people in Beirut remain homeless, while others are still trying to repair the very heavy damage their homes have suffered. In fact, after a very difficult winter, an equally difficult summer came, with power outages forcing many people to live without air conditioning in these extreme weather conditions. “We have seen scenes in the media with many people sleeping on the balconies, hoping to cool off due to the lack of air conditioning,” said George Ind.

And all that in the shadow of an unprecedented devaluation of the Lebanese pound (s.s. 1 pound is about 0.00056 euros), which has caused unrest in society and with the minimum wage being at very low levels…

The Greek quarter also remains received

A few hours after the explosion on August 4, last year, George Ind and his crew filmed scenes from the Greek quarter of Beirut, which is located close to the site of the disaster and suffered severe damage.

The eruption “hurt” irreparable buildings that had their own distinctive imprint, such as the old Greek club (the Greek club), where some of the most beautiful pages in the history book of the Greek community were written. Today, the building remains closed and is not functional, with the result that the once carefree moments spent there by members of the Greek community are a thing of the past…

Shocked by the images he had seen from the first minutes on the field of disaster, George Ind had record testimonies of Greeks of Beirut who experienced the terror, thus wanting to save a piece of history. Inside from the documentary, entitled “The zeibekiko of Beirut”, “Pass” stories of Greeks living in Beirut, one of which concerns a family friend of George Ind, Annoula Armau, who has been left alone by her entire family and whose fate “hit” hard, as she lost her eye in the explosion. Today, Annoula Armaou lives with an artificial eye and with the hope that she will be able to come and spend the last years of her life in Greece, since the situation in Lebanon is now (and) unbearable for her.

The documentary “The zeibekiko of Beirut” is available on YouTube and is a kind of continuation of “Kalimera Men Beirut / Good morning from Beirut”, where the well-known journalist recorded the life of the Greeks in Lebanon, their pain and joy.

* The photo is a file

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