Beirut port explosion ‘seems like a dream’

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Charbel Matar’s brother and good friend had been injured by the blast

Residents of Beirut have been left in shock after two devastating blasts killed at the least 137 individuals and injured about 5,000 others on Tuesday. Dozens are nonetheless lacking.

Lebanese authorities mentioned the explosions had been brought on by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate saved unsafely in a warehouse.

Charbel Matar advised the BBC that his household residence was devastated in the course of the catastrophe, and his brother and good friend had been handled for accidents.

The explosions occurred as Mr Matar was preparing for work on the American University, the place he’s chief fellow of haematology-oncology at Beirut Medical Centre. After the shockwave brought about the constructing to break down, Mr Matar fled outdoors with others within the centre.

“I appeared to the sky and I noticed this mushroom impact, this large explosion and it appeared prefer it was coming from downtown.

“The very first thing that got here on my thoughts was my household, my pals, my brother, my fiancé. I video-called my mum, it was the one factor that might join and I noticed her with my dad. They had been alive, there was just a little bleeding however they had been alive. I attempted to name my fiancé – she was working in Beirut however had left 30 minutes earlier than.

“Next I used to be attempting to achieve my brother who was at our household residence together with his good friend, which is 5-10 minutes away from the explosion. I used to be not in a position to attain him. I attempted just a few instances however I could not attain him till he known as me and mentioned he was nice. He had some accidents however his good friend who was subsequent to him was closely injured.

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Media captionAerial footage reveals flattened buildings after an explosion in Beirut’s port space

“I used to be in a dilemma. I ought to keep within the hospital and assist my pals, however on the similar time I needs to be with my brother as a result of nobody was there. I began to stroll to my home which is about 30 minutes away from my office. I attempted to see if somebody may choose me up as a result of my automotive was closely broken and I couldn’t use it.

“Someone did drive me nearer to my home, after which I needed to stroll from the terrifying explosion to my home and tried to get assist and switch my injured good friend and my brother to the hospital. I rang round to try to discover a hospital as a result of the 2 hospitals closest to the home had been additionally utterly destroyed.

More on the explosion in Beirut

“When I arrived residence somebody – I do not know who, I’m grateful to him – was in a position to choose them up by his automotive and attempt to get them to [hospital]. This stranger was driving them from emergency room to emergency room as a result of the hospitals had been out of capability. The solely hospital that would accommodate them was half an hour away.

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Charbel Matar

“Yesterday we began to try to safe our home. Our home was all broken and nothing remained; all of the home windows, all of the doorways – the whole lot. All the constructing that we stay in – it is a constructing of seven flooring – is all broken. There are not any extra home windows and the doorways exploded; they’re all down. There was harm and there was blood.

“We’re nonetheless in shock; we’re nonetheless refusing to consider that one thing occurred. We nonetheless assume it is like a dream or one thing. It was terrifying. It was horrible.”

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