Beirut holds its breath waiting for a "miracle" from under the rubble

Rescue workers are busy Friday searching for a potential survivor under the rubble of a destroyed building in Beirut, the stricken city that is holding its breath waiting for a "miracle", a month after a terrible explosion drowned the Lebanese in A shock they did not recover from yet.

The news of a person being found alive on the afflicted Mar Mikhael Street has revived the hopes of many in a country still under the burden of an unprecedented catastrophe that left 191 people dead and caused more than 6,500 injuries and displaced about 300,000 from their homes. Official estimates indicate that at least seven remain missing.

A judicial investigator is investigating the explosion, the circumstances of which are not clear yet, with the participation of French and American investigators. So far, 25 people, including senior officials in charge of the port and security men, have been arrested, after it became clear that those concerned at several levels were aware of the presence of dangerous materials stored in the port.

On Friday morning, civil defense personnel and rescue workers continued their searches under the rubble of a destroyed building on Mar Mikhael Street in Beirut, the day after a Chilean rescue team, which had recently arrived in Beirut, through an advanced thermal scanning device, detected a "heartbeat" at the place where a trained dog had found their company.

Workers lift stones and rubble with their hands or with hand tools, according to an AFP photographer, after walls that were threatened with falling were removed at night.

"We have been working since the night hours without stopping," the director of operations in the Civil Defense, George Abu Musa, told France Presse. "We raised rubble, but we have not reached a conclusion yet."

"After removing the large rubble, we conducted a new survey to monitor the heartbeat or breath, and the survey showed a low rate ... seven per minute," after it had previously recorded a rate that ranged Between "16 to 18" per minute.

So far, no signs of life have been found under the rubble.

"So far, unfortunately, there are no traces of any victim or corpse" in two rooms inside the building that were erased, French civil engineer Emmanuel Doran, who is participating with his team of university students, in the rescue efforts by conducting a 3D scan, told France Press.

According to residents of the neighborhood, the building, which had a bar on its ground floor, turned into a heap of rubble as a result of the August 4 explosion, which made searches require high skills and accuracy.

Lebanon does not have disaster management equipment nor advanced technical capabilities. Several countries rushed to send relief teams and technical assistance to help him after the explosion.

Although it is almost impossible to have life a month after the explosion, many cling to little hope.

For a month now, social media users have been fanning their anger at the authorities, who hold them responsible for the explosion, due to negligence and negligence.

"After a month, we are continuing to remove the rubble and we are trying hard to restore life ... The city has been severely injured. It will take a lot to move forward, even we have not started work," university professor Mona Fawaz wrote on Twitter.

And the United Nations Children's Fund warned Friday that an estimated 600,000 children who live within a 20-kilometer radius of the blast, may suffer from negative psychological effects, near and long-term.

The World Bank estimated the damage and economic losses resulting from the explosion at between 6.7 and 8.1 billion dollars. The affected neighborhoods continue to try to heal their wounds. Volunteers, students, and NGOs are working as a beehive to help residents repair their homes and distribute aid that has poured in from around the world.

The authorities attributed the explosion, the results of which have not been announced yet, to a fire in a warehouse in which 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate were stored. However, several media reports documented with official documents suggested that the quantity that exploded was much less, after it was found that large quantities were taken out of ward No. 12 (probably stolen) during the past years.

The blast represented a fatal blow to Lebanon, which has been mired since last year in its worst economic collapse, amid political disputes and international pressure to undertake structural reforms, sagging public facilities and rampant corruption.

In light of the street anger, Diab's government resigned. With the mounting international pressure, especially from France, whose President Emmanuel Macron visited Beirut twice after the explosion, most of the political forces agreed to assign Mustafa Adib to form a new government within two weeks.

Adeeb pledged to form a government that includes "specialists that will swiftly and professionally handle the issues at hand and restore the confidence of the Lebanese" who are calling for the departure of the combined political class.

France intends to organize an international support conference for Lebanon next month after the international community pledged in a first conference that it organized four days after the explosion, to provide 250 million euros to support the Lebanese, provided that it does not pass through state institutions accused of corruption.

Macron gave the political forces six to eight weeks to put the reform train on the tracks. The international community requires basic reforms to provide Lebanon with support that goes beyond the repercussions of the explosion.

However, all this did not mitigate the anger of the Lebanese, who cannot find an explanation for the tragedy. The families of the victims and organizations called for several stops on Friday evening at the moment of the explosion, to pray and observe a minute of silence.

On her Facebook account, the university professor Rita Barota, whose family home in Mar Mikhael was destroyed and her mother was injured in the explosion, wrote, "A month after the tragedy ... and we are still waiting for a face to heart beating under a stone. We still do not understand anything."


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