Bourj Hammoud and Nabaa are poor neighborhoods of the northern suburb of Beirut; they were heavily affected by the explosion of August 4, 2020. CARE International helped residents of these two regions through many projects.
Among the projects carried out was the restoration of impacted houses.
Adriné Zakararian, is 44 years old. She is a mother of three aged between 15 and 13. She grew up in a modest family home where her sick father and two unemployed sisters still live.
“I was here at home, taking care of my father when the explosion occurred. Honestly, I wasn’t afraid. I lived through the war in Lebanon (1975-1990),” she says.
“Everything was shattered, the doors, the windows. There was nothing left,” she adds.
“CARE International rebuilt everything. We now have a brand-new kitchen and bathroom, a brand-new house. The walls have been repainted. The windows have been replaced and the carpentry work is perfect,” she says, noting that during the months leading up to the restoration, she lodged her two sisters and her father in her house, in an apartment about ten meters away from her family home.
“In my building, no one helped us to refurbish and rebuild. I still have to do the carpentry and plumbing that were wrecked by the blast,” she says.
Adriné and her family are facing other problems related to unemployment and the high cost of living, with the Lebanese pound losing, in eighteen months, more than 120% of its value facing the US dollar.
“We are living with so little. Many products have disappeared from our diet, such as chicken, meat, vegetables and fruits,” she says, citing the price of each product she can no longer afford. “It’s no shame in saying that we’re missing out on a lot. The shame would be to steal,” she adds.
A few meters further, on the ground floor of an old building, lives Kevork Marajanian. On the day of the explosion Kevork, 53, wheelchair bound since 1998, was in the hospital. “My sister came to assess the damage. Everything was destroyed, from the front door, to the windows to the kitchen. The slabs were even torn off. Everything has been refurbished and I’m really grateful for that,” he says.
But Kevork still has a long way to go. The blast damaged his refrigerator, which he can no longer replace. It also destroyed many pipes in the building.
Kevork is a painter who has been living in the same district for 17 years; he opened a small workshop where he gives painting lessons. “The workshop was blown away and I lost my only income and my life. In addition, with the Coronavirus, the confinement, and the economic crisis, I practically stopped working. It would be great if someone could help me out with my workshop,” he says.