Lebanese relive 2020 port explosion

By February 22, 2023

Lebanon (MNN) — Lebanon remains on edge following Monday’s 6.4-magnitude earthquake in southern Türkiye. Thousands of smaller aftershocks have jolted the region in the past two weeks, but this was the strongest tremor since February 6.

Traffic jams were reported across Beirut as people fled their homes on Monday evening. “They are reliving the (2020) explosion [and] the memories of these events,” Nuna of Triumphant Mercy Lebanon says.

“When the [2020 Beirut port] blast came, it shook all the buildings, and the same shaking happened during the earthquake. It brought back all the memories and the fear.”

On August 4, 2020, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history obliterated part of the Beirut port and caused damages throughout the city. A few days after the blast, one believer described what he saw to MNN:

“Parts of the city lie in apocalyptic ruin… It looks like a war zone. The devastation is huge. The shockwave shattered windows. Buildings are collapsing. Balconies are blown away.”

Before (left) and after (right) of the crater caused by the Beirut explosion on Aug. 4, 2020.
(Photo, caption courtesy of LLNL-Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

Many Lebanese thought they were reliving history on February 6, 2023. “We woke up, and we felt everything rocking,” Nuna says.

“The next day, everyone who came to our distribution center in Beirut talked about the same thing. They have all this trauma that came up… people live in fear.”

Updates related to the historic Türkiye-Syria disaster earlier this month permeate neighboring Lebanon. “Everything we hear on the news is ‘earthquake, earthquake, earthquake,’” Nuna says.

“We’re not hearing anything else now. It’s the talk of everyone.”

Triumphant Mercy and its church partners point people to the Prince of Peace, but fear and trauma are hard to overcome.

“The words make sense to your brain – ‘Yes, yes, God is in control’ – but at the same time, it’s so hard for people to surrender and say, ‘Lord, you have my life. I will not fear, and I will trust You’,” Nuna says.

“Fear is a stronghold the devil uses to undermine our faith and keep us in bondage.”

Pray that believers and nonbelievers alike will find freedom by placing their trust in Jesus.




Header image depicts damages from the February 6 earthquake in Turkiye. (Photo courtesy of Horizons International)

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