We spoke to one of the survivors – K.Z., 27, Assyrian, married, and working as a concierge for 750,000 LBP. He’s been living in Lebanon for almost one year and two months. The couple were in their house in Ashrafieh when the blast happened.
“I thought a rocket had hit us at first. It felt like an earthquake; the whole building was shaking and was going to collapse over our heads. Everything exploded around us and fell apart: glass, walls, the television. We thought we were going to die.”
“I hugged my wife and told her to wait for a moment to realize what happened. I saw sections from the 10th floor falling in front of us. We rushed to the hospital because my wife and I got injured. She had 12 cuts all over her body and I couldn’t help her. After that, we went back home to a house full of broken glass; we already knew we didn’t have any other place to stay. But thank God we’re fine and alive.”
As we spoke to him, he told us that the UN helped by providing wooden planks to cover the broken windows. This was not enough – the house had serious damage, parts of the walls fell off, and we were using a pin to keep the door locked. The tenants in the same building weren’t offering him anything to help him fix his house, not even providing electricity.
In addition to the UN, the Assyrian committee helped them with food. The family doesn’t need just food, but money as well.
Five days before the explosion, K.Z. underwent an operation for his nose, and because of a medical mistake, he had to perform four other operations to fix the problem. He was in massive debt and had to pay a total of 13 million LBP for these surgeries.
It is worth mentioning that K.Z. was fired from his work, has two days to leave his house with no salary, and yet everyone in the building is still asking for his help even though he was released from his duties. He is strong and is easily getting over the Beirut explosion, but his wife is in denial.
The couple have to leave as soon as possible and go anywhere as they cannot stay in their house. Their only option is to live with K.Z.’s parents in Zgharta, in a house with 7 other persons.
K.Z. needs help urgently but can’t reach anyone. Even his father can’t help him with the finances. Since he’s a refugee who can’t return to his homeland, his only way to survive and be safe is by leaving Lebanon to another country.