Fadia’s Story: Six weeks after the Beirut explosion UNICEF listens; helping rebuild shattered lives

For every family in Beirut on August 4, there is a story. For those on the explosion’s front line, these stories are often delivered in parallel with tales of desperation, of need, yet sometimes of hope

Simon Balsom
Fadia next to her kids
UNICEF2020/Fouad-Choufany/Lebanon
22 September 2020

“I thought we were dying”, recalls mother Fadia Hussein. When the explosion hit her home in the early evening on August 4, she watched helplessly as her husband was injured, and saw her children huddled together in fear for their lives.

“I found my husband laying on the floor, I took his hand to help him stand and realised I had not heard my children’s voices after the explosion. I found them huddled together. I hugged them and took them, I wanted to go to the street, but at that moment, while standing next to my husband I thought we were all going to die.”

The experience brought back memories of Lebanon’s lengthy and bloody civil war.

“If my son hears any aircraft flying over, he immediately comes to the home. I’m trying my best not to let them go to the street at all. My daughter wants stability and safety and she wants to get back to a normal life - she wants the house to be quiet and the neighbourhood to be quiet too”.

Looking to the future for her children, Fadia reflects on the challenges they now face in education – not only due to the explosion damaging their school, but also because of ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.

“It’s not easy for a child to study through a mobile - and two of my children’s mobiles have crashed. The school has already told us that next year’s sessions will be online. I have to find a solution!”