Sudbury·Audio

Sudbury's Tahani Joubeily says aftermath of Beirut explosion 'painful' to watch

Tahani Joubeily said it's been hard to tear her eyes away from the images of the explosion that rocked the port of Beirut Tuesday.

Joubeily's family heard, felt Tuesday's blast

Damaged buildings are seen the day after a massive explosion at the port on August 5, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. According to the Lebanese Red Cross, at the moment over 100 people died in the explosion and over 4,000 were injured in explosion at Beirut Port. Officials said a waterfront warehouse storing explosive materials, reportedly 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate, was the cause of the blast. (Photo by Houssam Hariri/NurPhoto via Getty Images) (Houssam Hariri/NurPhoto/Getty Images))

The death toll of the explosion in Beirut is climbing and sparking strong feelings among those who can only watch from afar.

Sudbury's Tahani Joubeily, originally from Saida, approximately 40 kilometres south of Beirut, said it's been hard to tear her eyes away from the images of the explosion that rocked the port of Beirut Tuesday.

"It was very painful to see the video, then the clips, that were shared on Facebook from friends and their family," Joubeily said. "The first thing I thought about is the people."

Joubeily said her family lives about half an hour away from the port that was the scene of the explosion. She called them as soon as she heard what was happening.

"They were terrified because they felt the earth, they felt the house shaking and then they heard the sound," Joubeily said. 

"They told me that they felt like [the blast] was in their city, not Beirut. They were very scared and in shock."

Her mother-in-law, who lives close to the port, had to leave her house that was damaged in the blast. She will likely move in with a son in the southern part of the city, on advice from officials who say airborne toxins make it harmful for residents. 

"They're urging people who have someone that they know outside of Beirut to go and stay there for at least three days," Joubeily said. "If not, they're asking them to wear a mask and stay in the house with everything closed."

Sudbury's Tahani Joubeily, originally from Saida, about 40 kilometres south of Beirut, said it's been hard to tear her eyes away from the images of the explosion that rocked the port of Beirut Tuesday. "It was very painful to see the video, then the clips, that were shared on Facebook from friends and their family." (Roger Corriveau)

As for the cause of the blast, which is still under investigation but being linked to a storage container filled with ammonium nitrate, Joubeily said she isn't surprised.

"They're saying that the container was there since 2014, which will tell you what a bad government and a bad regime can do to its people, and can do to a whole country.

"They're being irresponsible. They are greedy. I think every Lebanese person that lives in Lebanon and abroad should have an opinion and should say stop," Joubeily said. 

"And they should change the government that we have right now." 

As for her family, Joubeily said she's in daily contact with them, but she's trying to limit the amount of time she spends following the story.

"I'm trying to keep my eyes out of Facebook because it's really, it's painful," she said. "Like we cried when this happened. It was so painful. I can't keep on going and looking on Facebook, what my friends are posting and they're sharing videos and it's a tragedy."

"I mean, this is reality, right? We have to adapt to it. But I hope that they will be doing something to change it, to change the current situation."

Reaction to the explosion that destroyed Beirut's port is being felt in places like Sudbury. Tahani Joubeily and her husband still have family in Lebanon. She spoke to reporter Kate Rutherford. 5:57

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