“I was happy to find my daughter, but I had no idea she would be in the morgue”.
More than 50 foreign nationals, including migrant workers and Syrian refugees, were killed in the Beirut blast. Hundreds of them were injured. Five are still missing.
The names of some of the victims, possibly migrants, have never been released. Most of them were quickly buried in public graves.
Rawan Misto, a 20-year-old Syrian from Aleppo who was killed on August 4 in a restaurant in Gemmayze, was buried by her family in Lebanon.
The young woman was born in Beirut in 2000 from a family that had arrived to work in Lebanon in 1996.
Rawan Misto lived in Dekouané, in the northern suburbs of Beirut, and worked for two years at Cyrano, a trendy restaurant in the Gemmayzé district.
Rawan Misto was a tall and beautiful brunette. Two months before the tragedy, she wanted to quit her job as a waitress to dedicate her career to modeling. But the restaurant owner insisted that she stayed and modified the young woman’s schedule accordingly so that she could do two jobs. One year later, he still feels guilty.
At the time of the explosion, Rawan Misto’s colleagues saw her lying wounded on the terrace of the restaurant located about 100 meters from the silos of the port.
It took her family two days to find her in a mortuary at a Beirut hospital.
In Dekwané, a neighborhood in the northern suburbs of the Lebanese capital, Rawan’s family still mourns her. Mona Jawish, her mother, a cook in a restaurant in the city, is unable to talk about her daughter without sobbing.
Mona Jawish has been raising her children on her own for many years.
Thanks to her two jobs, Rawan was able to help her family. “There is nothing harder than losing a child. Since August 4, my life has been nothing but grief and sadness. Rawan was the joy of
the house, she was generous with everyone, her family, her neighbors and her friends. She took care of her sister and brother,”Mona Jawish says.
She remembers August 4, 2020. “Rawan had just arrived to work, we called her, but she wouldn’t answer. I went on the scene, walked in the rubble, went to the hospitals… Late at night her friends started to post notices on Facebook and Instagram. It wasn’t until the following day at noon that someone called me to tell me that my daughter had been found. I ran to Rizk Hospital, I was happy, I wanted to hug Rawan, to tell her that everything would be fine. I expected to walk into her room, to see her injured… I didn’t know I was going to see her in the morgue”.
“If only I could get my eye back”.
Not far from Beirut port, in the Rmeil neighborhood, Sama Hamad, who was three years old last year, was at the window of her house at the time of the blast. She suffered a facial injury and lost her right eye.
Sama’s father, Makhoul, has been working in Lebanon since the 1990s. With the start of the war in Syria, his wife and family joined him in Beirut.
“At the moment of the explosion, I ran to Sama to protect her and I hugged her in my arms with all my strength, her face was covered with blood,” says Faten, Sama’s mother, wiping her tears.
Sama, now four years old, is a playful and happy girl. When she is not telling stories of all kinds to her interlocutors, she is dancing.
She puts her hand on her left eye and explains. “When I put my hand here, I can’t see anything. I’m not in pain, but I can’t see. If only I could get my eye back!” she said simply, as if this were possible. “We were happy before the explosion, our life has changed since then,” she adds.
Sama spends her time playing with her brother, sister and neighbors. She will go to school next year.
Currently, it is physically impossible for Sama Hamad to undergo a transplant and even in adulthood, the results of such a procedure, in her case, are not guaranteed.