Kenyans in Lebanon recount harrowing tale of Beirut explosion

The aftermath of an explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. [Photo Al Jazeera]

Tuesday’s massive blast in Beirut, Lebanon’s capital left seven Kenyans who live and work there shaken to the core.

Among them is Fred Kamau, who has been working as a security guard at a school not too far away from the site where there was an explosion killing 78 people and leaving over 3,000 people with serious injuries.

For Kamau, the blast is unforgettable adding that it is a replica of what is seen in movies.

“Pieces of glasses in the air — was raining shards of glass. There was a huge blast. So much running…so much screaming…and I was sandwiched between two walls that were shaking…I said, God, do not let me die in a foreign land far from home,” he told the Standard.

Two days after this incident, he is still shaken and is unable to sleep.

The blast has left three Kenyans hospitalized according to Halima Mohamud, the Kenyan ambassador to Kuwait which also has jurisdiction in Lebanon.

She said that no serious case has been reported so far on any Kenyan in Beirut asking Kenyans with relatives in Beirut to remain calm.

“All the Kenyans are fine. I talked to them,” she stated.

Three of those who were injured were taken to hospital and treated. Reports indicate that they are responding well to treatment.

However, one of those who have been admitted lack documentation according to Kenya’s Honorary Consul in Lebanon.

The Kenyan only identified as “Lulu” does not have insurance cover due to her undocumented status but the consul said they will handle the case.
“She is illegally working outside without insurance cover. We are following up her case,” said the consul.

Zawadi Asia, a domestic worker is nursing a sprained ankle. She recounted seeing a lot of debris in the air hours after the blast.

For Mary Muriithi, all she wants is to return home. She said that the horror of seeing people soaked in blood following the blast still haunts her.

Investigations so far indicated that the blast went off at a site with an estimated 2,750 tonnes of explosive materials among them ammonium nitrate that has been stored in a warehouse for six years.

There are still bodies and people fighting for their lives trapped in the debris and rescue teams are working tirelessly to rescue them.