A Montreal Red Cross humanitarian worker based in the Middle East for years is struck by the resilience of the Lebanese, already appalled by the multiple crises that follow and overlap in the country.
“It’s like a bad luck, as if we were beating on this country,” blows Violaine Des Rosiers, representative of the Canadian Red Cross in the Middle East, dispatched to Beirut for 3 weeks to replace a colleague on vacation.
The Lebanese civil war which ravaged the country from 1975 to 1990 strongly shook its structure.
In default of payment on its public debt since the beginning of March, the country is now experiencing the worst economic crisis in its history.
Reach for the worst
“Five minutes before the explosion destroyed my apartment, located 5 kilometers from the port of Beirut, I was on the phone with a colleague from Montreal. I told him that Lebanon had reached the worst. Then … everything exploded! »Says Mme Roses.
“There is a lot of solidarity in the communities,” notes the aid worker. People need to find each other. Of course they will accept international aid, but the Lebanese people know how to recover from such a crisis. “
The one who experienced the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 quickly emerged from the windows, by reflex. “I was waiting for the second shake, but it was a different kind of vibration,” she reports.
“I have worked for the Red Cross for more than 20 years, in countries often at war, and I have never seen that”, continues Mme Roses.
The blast of the blasts was felt as far as the island of Cyprus, about 200 km away.
“The nature of the explosion is very different from a bomb or a mine, grade Mme Roses. We often try to pinpoint a blame, but what happened remains a natural disaster. “
The concussion would be comparable to that experienced by the citizens of Lac-Mégantic in 2013, “but multiplied by 500, or even 1000,” she said.