Sudburians worry about family in Beirut
SUDBURY -- Following two massive explosions in Beirut on Tuesday, anguish continues across the globe.
"Everything is destroyed," said Tahani Joubeily, who has family in Beirut.
"It was awful, it was very nervous and very scary thing."
Joubeily says every since the event happened she has been tied to her phone waiting for updates and connecting with family, including her parents and mother in law, who are now dealing with the aftermath.
"I was at work and on my way home , my parents, we have a WhatsApp group, they were talking about it. When I came home, I opened my Facebook and I saw the explosion and there was the shock. It was horrible. The scenery is like... I couldn't say anything actually. It was really really bad" she adds.
There are several families in the Sudbury area with strong ties to Lebanon. Everyone relieved to hear their family members are safe, but the concern is still high.
"I believe the Lebanese dioses, people whose families immigrated from the country, is actually larger then the number of people that are in the country," said Reem Fattouh, who was born in Canada but whose family is originally from Beirut.
"So you still have people around the world who have this direct connection with the country even though they haven't live there in a while or they just have people that they love and care about there. So like, there's a little bit of this survivals guilt where you're not there to be able to help first hand on the ground."
Several family members of those who live in Sudbury are dealing with damage to property and housing.
"She was scared, but at least she's safe," said Joubeily about her mother in law lives in Beirut.
"She doesn't have anymore glasses in her windows and doors. Also the metal frames of the doors and windows, they're not in their places anymore."
Sam Khoury, who has family in Beirut, says "they've never seen something like this."
Adding that, "I've been in that area many times before, the only thing we can see now is just the steel and ruined buildings and in a way it's very bad. But in a way, they're very lucky to have been right on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea because half of the explosion went through the water."
There are several measures in place for people to help with relief efforts including monetary donations to Lebanon Red Cross and private groups who are collecting donations.
However, Fattouh is worried about the ripple effect that this will have on the country.
"Lebanon is also dealing with the coronavirus, so a lot of the hospitals are overrun with patients dealing with COVID-19, as well as victims from this tragedy. So you know, you're having things like field hospitals set-up and donations like things to the Lebanese Red Cross go to help those people out. The other thing is because the port was so damaged, a lot of the imports that are coming into the country come through the port and so we're having to look at alternatives to that."
Thousands in Beirut are now homeless and many are still missing as efforts are made to search through the debris.
Although people here continue to worry about their home country, those who have been able to reach their family members are just happy to hear they are safe.