Israa Seblani (29) sensed peace and no danger when she posed for her wedding video in Beirut on Tuesday. Soon the happy day’s snuff would be on his head.
In the video clip, which has since attracted attention in the international media, one can see Seblani posing for the camera, wearing a beautiful wedding dress.
Then comes the crash.
The explosion could be heard in Cyprus, 240 km away. The tremors in the ground corresponded to an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.5, according to German seismologists.
The explosion in the port area of Lebanon’s capital killed at least 135 people and injured 5,000. It is feared that the numbers will rise.
In addition, the explosion caused major material damage. Authorities estimate that up to 250,000 people became homeless as a result of the explosion.
When Reuters meets Seblani and Ahmad Subeih (34) a day after the explosion, the couple struggles to understand what happened.
– What happened during the explosion here… There are no words to explain… I was shocked. I wondered what had happened. Did I die? How am I going to die, says Seblani.
Seblani, who works as a doctor in the United States, helped look after the injured nearby before she recovered. Subeih describes the sight of the injuries as “extremely sad”.
– It is not possible to describe the destruction and sound of the explosion. We’re still in shock. I have never heard anything like the sound of the explosion, says Subeih, who works as a businessman in Beirut.
The couple chose to carry out the wedding despite the explosion.
– I’m so sorry for what happened to other people, to what happened to Lebanon. When I woke up and saw the damage and what had happened to Beirut, I thanked God that we are still alive, says Seblani.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab has stated that 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate exploded during a fire.
According to the Prime Minister, the material must have been stored in a warehouse for six years.
Ammonium nitrate is used in fertilizers, but there are several examples where the material is used as an ingredient in explosives. For a long time, there must have been great concern about the warehouse in the port area in Beirut.
The security check, which was carried out about six months ago, revealed “what extremely dangerous and unsafe conditions” the ammonium nitrate was stored under, according to Al Jazeera.
The explosion took place at 18.07 local time. Several buildings and windows within a radius of ten kilometers were destroyed, writes CNN.
– Everything broke around us. Everything in glass was on the floor, on the ground, on the streets. People ran out to see what happened, Salam Omar Saati told Dagbladet about his experience of the explosion.
Food stores destroyed
In addition to tragic deaths, a large amount of damage and massive material damage, Lebanon’s largest grain silo is also useless after the explosion. In addition, another food warehouse was destroyed.
– The local wheat production covers only ten percent of the country’s consumption. The rest is imported from other countries. More than 80 percent of the imported grain is stored in the warehouse that is now in the heart of the explosion, writes Tobias Schneider, a German Middle East researcher, on Twitter and adds:
– It’s a complete disaster. The government must act quickly.
Kari Karamé has worked for many years as a researcher in Nupi, where she has researched gender in war and peacebuilding in the Middle East, with a special focus on Lebanon and Syria.
Karamé also describes the explosion as dramatic, especially since it affects a people who initially have so little.
– We can only hope that the entire grain warehouse is not destroyed, because bread is a very important part of the food that the country’s inhabitants get now.
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