By Prince C. Kamara
A large blast in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, which killed at least 70 people and injured more than 2,700 others on Tuesday 4th August, 2020 shall forever go down the history of Lebanon as a very dark day which tore families and friends apart.
Videos of the horrific incident as it occurred showed smoke billowing from a fire, then a mushroom cloud following the blast at the city’s port.
The blast was heard 240km (150 miles) away on the island of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean. The explosion comes at a sensitive time for Lebanon, with an economic crisis reigniting old divisions.
An investigation is already underway to find what exactly triggered the explosion, while Lebanon’s Supreme Defense Council says those responsible would face the “maximum punishment.” Hospitals are said to be overwhelmed and many buildings were destroyed in the blast.
While Lebanon’s President Aoun declared a three-day mourning period, Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad have expressed shock and dismay over the incident, while sending messages of sympathy and solidarity with the people of Lebanon.
Sierra Leone and Lebanon have shared mutual, diplomatic and even family ties for several decades and are still sharing these ties and so when such an ugly and unexpected fatality happens in Lebanon it is a matter of fact that, Sierra Leoneans too would be concerned and would feel the shock because of the close connection between the two peoples.
We in Sierra Leone are very saddened by this horrible blast which took many lives and injured thousands more in Lebanon and we send our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families for their great loss while we also pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.
We also want Lebanon to know that we are in solidarity with the people of Beirut and hope that those responsible for causing this blast whether by omission or commission would be swiftly caught and brought to book.
Meanwhile, we emphasize once again that Lebanon and Sierra Leone have known and worked with each other for long and whatever happens in Lebanon reflects on Sierra Leone.
Take heart and know that we are with you every step of the way.