Siham Tekian lives on Armenia Street in the Mar Mikhael neighborhood, which was badly affected by the explosion. She runs a grocery store in the same building where she resides. Everything Siham possesses was destroyed by the explosion on August 4, 2020, and she was injured.
“I came out of my house to call for help and once on the street, I saw the apocalypse. At the wheel of a car, a man whom I do not know stopped to help me and it is with him that I went to more than five hospitals that could not receive me because they were overwhelmed with work before we arrivedin an establishment in the suburbs that was not oversaturated with victims. The explosion happened at 6:07 pm, it was at 11:30 pm that I arrived at this hospital. I waited for my turn until 2:00 am sitting on the floor between the dead and injured. When my turn came, there was no more anesthesia and not enough thread for the stitches. I was treated without anesthesia and the doctor used staples to close the wounds on my face. I also had to go back the following day to continue the treatment,” she says.
Aged 65, married without children, Siham Tekianis known to everyone in the neighborhood for her kindness and good humor.
Upon returning from the hospital, Siham Tekian, who had nowhere to go, slept six nights on the street standing guarding her grocery store that lost its door and its windows and waiting for her house to be cleaned.
“I received help from former schoolmates living abroad as well as from many strangers. It was thanks to everyone’s support that I was able to go back home and reopen my grocery store,” she says.
Siham Tekian now lives with the after-effects of her injuries. Often, she no longer feels the skin on her face because of the staples used to close her wound and she has great difficulty standing, a severed tendon in her leg was not well treated on the spot. Suffering from chronic illnesses and barely making ends meet, she prefers not to undergo a surgery. “I have difficulty walking and I am tired all the time. Often in the afternoons, I go home to rest,” she says.
“Everything saddens me now, although I know that, despite my injuries, I was very lucky. I think of the people killed in the blast, of their families. I also constantly think of the deteriorating situation in Lebanon. I have never complained but life has become extremely difficult. Most of my clients have left and never come back. Very few of the residents of the neighborhood have returned to their homes though they have been rebuilt. They are traumatized. I don’t know how to pay the vendors who ask for money on the spot in cash anymore with the lira plunging downwards against the USD on the black market,” she says. “We hardly have any more electricity and we have to pay every month a very high price for the generator, which is also rationed,” she adds, speaking of the daily life of all the Lebanese.
In 18 months, the Lebanese Lira has lost 150% of its value against the US dollar and more than one in two Lebanese now live-in poverty. For more than two months, fuel has been rationed and medicines and hospital supplies are lacking.
Here’s a link to Siham’s original story: https://bit.ly/3iY5fik