A day after the devastating explosion in Beruit, Lebanon that killed at least 135 people and injured thousands, the local Lebanese community is reeling.
“Obviously shocking. The magnitude of the explosion at the port of Beirut was a tragic event,” said CFB Esquimalt Base Commander Navy Capt. Sam Sader. The base leader is a native of Beirut and went to school blocks away from the port where the explosion took place.
“It’s very personal. Of course, there’s memories of beautiful places during childhood and you see the pictures of devastation and it’s something that hit very close to home,” Sader said.
After the initial shock, Sader’s first move was to call the many family members who still live in Beirut.
“Some of them are unfortunately badly injured but we’re grateful that they’re alive. They were in the workplace area near the port and buildings with the glass shattering, they feel lucky that they’re alive. They cannot actually believe how they were able to make it out of their offices, out of their homes. Their homes are destroyed, their hospitals are destroyed.”
The owner of Ali Baba’s Pizza, Lebanese Canadian Mark Murr, said it’s a dark day. Luckily his family in Lebanon is safe, but he said this tragedy comes on top of the long list of issues that already plagues the country could set them back for generations.
“Sadness for all of the people that are having to deal with this on top of their economic issues, the pandemic that we’re all dealing with worldwide, there’s political unrest, and to add this on top is just devastating,” Murr said.
Both Murr and Sader say the Lebanese community here on Vancouver Island will rally together to send financial assistance to Beirut.