In a conversation with PanARMENIAN.Net, Lebanese-Armenian political activist and op-ed columnist Araz Bedros said the situation is scarier than one can imagine. Bedros herself is currently residing in another part of Beirut, but her in-laws’ home, which is situated close to the port, was badly damaged in the blasts. The couple have now moved to Bedros’s home, but the family are desperate to move to Armenia to secure a better life for her nine-year-old daughter.
“My in-laws were at home, at the heart of the explosions, when the city plunged into chaos. You have no clue of the real damage the blasts have caused. Doors and windows have been smashed everywhere, injured people are all over the streets, schools, churches and other buildings have been damaged, the roads are closed as authorities fear more buildings may collapse,” the activist explained.
© Mohamed Azakir/Reuters
The family have witnessed the horrors of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) and want to safeguard their child from further distress. The problem is, however, they can’t withdraw cash from the bank due to the economic crisis Lebanon has been grappling with in the past months.
“This has been going on for months,” Bedros said about the people’s inability to withdraw money from the bank. “Even if you have a U.S. dollar account, you can’t cash the money in dollars. You are forced to cash Lebanese, and there is a limit, and you can’t take out money more than once in a month. So, basically, the dollars you have don’t exist.”
Bedros’s husband has been helping in the rescue operations since the first moments of the tragedy. People have formed lines to receive medical help although the country’s main medical and food supplies are in the port, Bedros explained, and even hospitals need help now.
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The family that has been living in Lebanon for more than a decade is not the only one nurturing plans to move to Armenia.
“My cousin has already sent her daughter to Armenia and is thinking of moving there herself, and I already know many who moved in the last few few months,” Bedros explained.
The port in Beirut is the main source of income for many families in Lebanon, a country where agriculture and production play a relatively minor role in the economy. The wheat in the port granaries, meanwhile, can not be used, Lebanon’s economy minister Raoul Nehme has said. The minister also told local media that Lebanon will import wheat and added that the country currently has enough wheat until they begin importing it.
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Lebanon is surveying the damage to its capital after the massive explosions ripped through the city’s port and surrounding areas on August 4, killing at least 100 people and injuring 4,000 with many still feared to be trapped under rubble. Among casualties, there are Armenians too.