How you can help the Lebanese community in Houston after Beirut explosion

Shelley Childers Image
Saturday, August 8, 2020
How you can help the Lebanese community in Houston
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The Lebanon community in Houston said Houstonians can support them by shopping at their businesses and eating at their restaurants.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Days after the explosion at the Port of Beirut, Dr. Rosette Elghossain said she is still grappling with the reality.

"It looks like something out of Armageddon, like that does not look like something that should happen to any city, anywhere."

The Lebanese-American, who currently lives in Houston, said her entire family still lives in Lebanon, and many were injured and a friend's sister is still missing.

RELATED: Lebanon investigates explosion amid rising anger, calls for change

"It is catastrophic. It is indescribable. It is unfathomable, just the sheer radius of damage that has happened over there," Elghossain said.

The images of destruction are in stark contrast to the beautiful and historic Mediterranean city where she was raised and celebrated her marriage.

"The entire port, gone in a second. All the buildings down there, the banks, businesses, hospitals, at least four major hospitals, completely blown out. There are physicians performing surgery using cell phone flash lights because there is no electricity," Elghossain said.

The clinical psychologist said the blast was so powerful that her mother, who was 20 minutes north of the city, thought it was an earthquake.

RELATED: Houston man and family says they experienced Beirut explosion

"I will never forget the sound of her voice. The only thing that she could say is 'There is something wrong. There is something, there's something wrong, something bad has happened,'" Elghossain said.

Officials said it was caused by more than 2,700 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate that was confiscated from a ship in 2013.

The AP reports Lebanon's top leaders and security officials knew the product was there and unsecured.

The country, which is already facing an economic crisis from the pandemic and decades of distrust in their government, is now left with their capital in rubble.

Nearly 150 people were killed in the blast, thousands were wounded and hundreds of thousands are now without homes.

Elghossain is now asking Houstonians to help by supporting Lebanese-owned businesses and restaurants.

"By supporting a Lebanese business, yes you're not fixing the problem, but you are helping us help our families back home because a lot of the people over there, especially now, rely on us because we can't rely on the government."

As she watches the horror unfold in her hometown, she urges Americans to do what they can to help.

"Just because this happened in the Middle East, doesn't mean that it's normal and doesn't mean that we can say 'Oh this has happened before and this will happen again.' People there are normal human beings with lives and hopes and dreams and this is worse than a nightmare," Elghossain said.

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