MUSCAT: After a huge chemical blast struck the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday, Lebanese citizens living in the Sultanate as well as their Omani and other expatriate friends have joined hands to help the country overcome the disaster that killed at least 145 people, injured over 5,000 and rendered more than 300,000 people homeless.
Albert Samaha, Lebanese Ambassador to the Sultanate who is currently in Beirut overseeing the relief efforts, told the Observer that relief initiatives by countries across the world are progressing.
“Medical and food assistance is coming from different friendly countries while the civil society is taking lots of initiatives,” Samaha said from Beirut.
He added that ‘the catastrophe is big but i am confident that Beirut will rise from the ashes thanks to the resilience of its people and the support of the friendly counties. Ambassador Samaha expressed his gratitude to his majesty Sultan Haitham , to the Omani people for their swift and genuine support and solidarity with Lebanon in these dramatic circumstances as well as for the medical assistance sent to Lebanon
, which highly appreciated.
Groups of volunteers on ground are in action doing a lot of cleaning work, removing broken glasses from the streets, scouring the rubble and wreckage from destroyed houses, collecting funds to ensure food products for the affected people.
“The first thing I did when I heard the tragic and shocking news was to call my parents and check on them, and thank God they are all safe and doing well,” remembers Mireille Shoaib, CEO, Lunar Cinemas.
“This kept me thinking of all the families who lost their beloved ones as hundreds are believed to be dead with many still lying buried under the wreckage or missing due to the terrible explosion,” says Mireille.
Lebanese citizens living in Oman are trying to support by volunteering money to the different dedicated and trusted online support aids and social media pages.
“We are also thankful also to the Sultanate and the Omanis who are supporting us and standing with us in this difficult period,” she says.
Fadi al Safi, Film Director in Muscat, too contacted all his family members, friends and relatives as soon as the news arrived on Wednesday.
“Just after the explosion we were trying to call our dear and near ones back home but all communications were interrupted and this made me crazy. Now, I’m able to contact all my family members, my cousins and friends. Thank God most of them are safe, but a friend of mine had suffered bad injuries. I am trying now to find a way to extend help after this catastrophic situation,” Al Safi says.
“I am deeply pained to hear and see the precious lives lost and thousands injured,” shares Roger Abi Anoun, Executive Manager, Manwinwin Software.
“I feel so sad and so scared. At this moment all what we have to do is stand in solidarity with our beloved friends and families in their difficult times. Finally, I want to send my deep condolences to all bereaved families, and wish speedy recovery to all the injured,” says Abi Anoun.
Rodny Soueidy said, “We would like to express our deepest condolences and support to all the victims in Beirut, their families, and to the city at large during this horrible tragedy. We express our solidarity and sympathy to our people, brothers, sisters, friends and relatives. Rest assured, we stand by you people and will not spare any help we can afford through the Omani charity authorities.”