Nurse Rescues Three Newborns After Being Knocked Unconscious In Beirut Explosion
A nurse in Lebanon has been hailed a hero for rescuing three newborns in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion.
At least 135 people were killed in the blast, 5,000 people have been injured and more than 300,000 are now homeless.
Hundreds of buildings were damaged or destroyed when the explosion erupted in the port area of the city, which sparked chaos for anyone inside.
A hospital was badly hit by the blast and one nurse leapt into action without even remembering what had happened.
Photojournalist Bilal Jawich drove into the affected area after seeing the massive plume of smoke rise into the air. Speaking to CNN, he said he followed his 'professional intuition' until it brought him to Al Roum hospital, in the Ashrafieh district.
"I was amazed when I saw the nurse holding three newborns," Jawich said. "I noticed the nurse's calm, which contrasted the surrounding atmosphere just one metre away."
He said that amongst the debris and rubble inside the hospital, several bodies were strewn across the floor.
Bilal continued: "However, the nurse looked like she possessed a hidden force that gave her self-control and the ability to save those children.
"People stand out amidst these violent and dark and evil circumstances and this nurse was up to the task."
He said the nurse was knocked unconscious inside the maternity ward when the initial blast hit and when she came to she was clutching the three babies.
Around 80 per cent of the hospital has been damaged and 50 per cent of the equipment has been destroyed.
The nurse's heroism is just one of many emerging from Beirut as the city deals with the devastating tragedy.
A video uploaded to Twitter today (5 August) shows crowds cheering as a survivor is pulled from the rubble by a group of emergency workers.
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Footage shows surrounding crowds erupting into applause as the crew pull the young man out of the wreckage. With his clothes and body covered in dust and dirt, he is carried on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance.
The post copped loads of comments offering support and praise to the rescue staff who are working around the clock to bring safety to any survivors.
"Strong man," wrote one commenter, while another added: "At least one mom had her son back".
The blast - which was so powerful it could be felt more than 150 miles away in Cyprus - has devastated entire areas of the city, destroying local establishments and critical silos that stored around 85 percent of the country's grain.
Sky News reporter Zein Ja'far, who was in downtown Beirut when the explosion happened, said: "It tore apart the facade of the building we're in, and once the dust settled we managed to get ourselves and others in this block outside.
"Windows, doors and glass were shattered across downtown Beirut and there were a lot of very dazed, bloody people walking around, trying to gather their bearings."
Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the cause of the explosion was 2,700 tonnes ammonium nitrate, which is a common industrial chemical used in fertilliser as well as in mining explosives.
The country has been plunged into a two week state of emergency.
Beirut had already been struggling under the weight of the coronavirus, economic and political unrest and now an explosion on a massive scale.
Emergency services are scouring the wreckage looking for people who are unaccounted for, with many trapped beneath the rubble and feared dead.
The city's Governor Marwan Abboud told the media that it could cost up to $5 billion to repair the horrific damage caused by the explosion, with 300,000 people having lost their homes.
Since the explosion happened, a number of countries have come out and offered their support to the Lebanese government, with the Czech Republic promising to send a team of 37 rescuers with sniffer dogs to aid, while Greece and Denmark have also offered to help.
You can donate to the Lebanese Red Cross here.
Featured Image Credit: PA