Beirut Explosion

Garland Woman Shares Story of Family's Heartbreak in Beirut After Deadly Explosion

After decades of war, conflict and now the coronavirus, Abir Elzahabi knows her country will find a way to eventually recover

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A Lebanese woman now living in Garland is sharing her story of heartbreak for her family and her country after the explosion that rocked Lebanon’s capital killed nearly 160 people and injured about 5,000.  

Tears fill Abir Elzahabi’s eyes as she thinks about her family in Beirut.

“I need to do something for them, but I can’t," she said. "They are struggling."

Elzahabi said her cousin was training at his Taekwondo club when Tuesday's blast knocked him back about 3 feet. 

He was nearly crushed when the door fell on him. 

“He was bleeding all over his body — his face, his nose, his chest, his legs,” Elzahabi said.

She quickly got in touch with her family.

“I called my mother. She thought it was an earthquake. The apartment was shaking,” Elzahabi said.

Her relatives had survived the unthinkable.

“I called my sister, after I finished with my mother. She said, ‘I thought it was the end of the world,' ” Elzahabi said.

A photo from the home of one of Abir Elzahabi's relatives in Beirut shows shattered glass and overturned furniture on a balcony. (Abir Elzahabi)

Her family lives about a 10 minute drive from where the deadly blast happened.

They had been even closer than that earlier in the day.

“My mother and my brother were in a picnic and they passed by the port one hour before the explosion,” Elzahabi said.

After decades of war, conflict and now the coronavirus, she knows her country will find a way to eventually recover.

“With every calamity, we will get stronger, and we will continue our life,” says Elzahabi.

Her cousin was taken to the hospital but will be OK.

Lebanon's president has vowed to conduct a full investigation into the deadly blasts.

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