Nine of the ten-person emergency response team are still missing, while the only female on the team, 25-year-old Sahar Faris, is confirmed dead.
Rabat – A heartbreaking image captures three Beirut first responders attempting to pry open the door of the smoking warehouse moments before the tragic explosion that wrecked the nation’s capital.
Pictured, Jo Noon, Methal Hawwa, and Najib Hitti are among nine of the 10-person rapid response team still missing, while 25-year-old Sahar Faris is confirmed dead.
When the smoke started gathering above the port on Tuesday, August 4, the team of firefighters went to tackle the initial blaze. According to a fire service official reporting to DailyMail UK, the team was divided between an emergency response vehicle and a fire engine. The blast, caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in the warehouse for six years, hit all of them.
“The three men in the famous photograph were first on the scene trying to unlock the door to Warehouse 12,” the official said. The photographer is among the confirmed fatalities.
Faris, the only female firefighter on the team and a paramedic specialist, was honored in a public funeral. Devastated, her fiance Gibert Karaan posted a tribute to his partner writing, “I love you and I will keep loving you until the day I get to join you and we continue our journey.”
The death toll from the massive Beirut explosion has climbed to 157, injuring at least 5,000 people and leaving 300,000 homeless.
According to public reports, authorities ignored repeated requests to remove the hazardous materials from the city’s port — despite the alerts of the danger they posed.
In the aftermath of the explosion, Lebanese have risen up in demonstrations to demand the resignation of their government. Many affirm that the wave of destruction caused by the explosion highlighted the government’s negligence, incompetence, and mismanagement. It also contributed to the erosion of the public’s trust in the government.
Lebanon’s political system is in crisis. In recent months, the country saw an 80% depreciation of its currency while struggling to battle the COVID-19 pandemic with limited resources. Protests have continuously shaken the capital.
Speculations are rife that the recent Beirut explosion may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, or, in other words, may trigger Lebanon’s plunge into failed statehood.