Tarik el Jdideh, Beirut
Beirut location

MONA (mother of 2) lives in Tarik el Jdide, in a building adjacent to the basement were the Diesel tanks explosion occurred. At the time of the explosion, she was at her parents in law house (5 minutes’ walk away). “It was around 8:00 pm in the evening, people were calling to check on me and my kids knowing that my house is too close to the explosion, but I didn’t know exactly where it was, and I was thinking it’s far. It took us about more than 30 minutes, when my husband went home to check on it, to know we were directly impacted by the explosion.” Hiba thought it was something very huge, similar to the Beirut port explosion, she wanted to go to the balcony to check the damages but was afraid that there would be another explosion and that she will die. “That made me relive all the memories from the port explosion”. ”At first people were saying it is a car bomb, then they knew they were Diesel tanks. There were a lot of gatherings in the streets, people were coming from everywhere to help and check on others. There was also fear that there would be more to explode. “The engineer who came to make estimates and check on the damages, said that should the pressure did not go in my room and my apartment, the whole building would have fallen to the floor.” Most of the pressure of the explosion went through my apartment. Should that did not happen, the whole building would have taken the pressure and fell to the floor. The buildings around us all suffered from broken glass.”

Hiba feels insecurity, she believes that anything can happen at any time. “We live in a country where there is no room for feeling safe.” Nevertheless, she never thought of leaving the neighborhood, she thinks that what happened was not intentional nor planned and it could have happened in any region in Lebanon. “Anything can happen anytime; we live in constant fear.”

Moving to a furnished apartment (10 minutes walks from their apartment) was the family choice, they stayed there for around 2 months until the repair works were completed. “I was passing by my region on a daily basis, even if I had no route or job there, I’d pass to see what is going on. I felt the repairs were going quite fast. But every time I’d go back to our neighborhood the whole event would come back to me and I would remember it as a movie in my head. The smell of the fire was still in the area for like a whole month.”

Some children suffered from serious burns and were hospitalized. Hiba’s apartment suffered from broken walls, all the repairs were done by associations, except for the furniture. Counseling for the children mental health was also provided by an association, her children were happy to come back to their house, even though no furniture were provided.