Last week, a terrifying explosion rocked the city of Beirut in Lebanon. But among all that horror and loss, some beauty was about to unfold.
At that moment, Emmanuelle and Edmond Khnaisser were in the delivery room, about to capture their son’s first moments of life. Edmond pulled out a camera, and then, rather than a baby, he recorded the terrifying explosion.
She was in the middle of her labor
“I saw death with my own eyes…I started feeling ‘is it over?’ I was looking around and at the ceiling, just waiting for it to fall on us,” Emmanuelle said of the blast that injured 6000 and killed more than 170 people in Beirut Aug. 4.
The staff, even while bloody and surrounded by shattered glass, carried Emmanuelle into the corridor before any further explosions could follow, and she tried her best to ignore what was going on around her and concentrate on giving birth.
People died in the hospital
Everything was happening all at once, and it was frightening. In fact, right after the blast, Stephanie Yacoub, chief resident of obstetrics and gynecology at St. George Hospital University Medical Center, had run out the room to help an injured nurse.
She discovered the injured nurse had already died, and could no longer be helped, so she hurried back to Emmanuelle to help her give birth. Stephanie told Reuters:
There was no electricity and the sun was starting to set, so we knew we had to get this done as soon as possible. And with the use of people’s phone lights, he came into the world.
Seventeen people died in St. George hospital right after the blast and dozens were injured, including Edmond Khnaisser’s mother, who suffered six broken ribs and a punctured lung.
Running back and forth between his wife and his mother, Khnaisser just wanted to get his new son George to safety.
As they escaped the blast’s proximity, reality started to set in, and they saw all the carnage.
Finally, they made it to another hospital outside of the capital where George was finally bathed and cleaned.
“He has to come to life, and I have to be very strong,” she told herself.
Watch this Goalcast video on this amazing hero:
Baby George is a symbol of strength and hope
“George is very special. He is the light in the darkness, a birth in wreckage,” Edmond said, showing pictures of his son on the Instagram page he created for the boy they now call “miracle” baby George.
What a miracle indeed! And what an incredible reminder of the strength of people and their ability to come together, even in the hardest of times.
Here’s how you can help the people of Lebanon:
- Donate to the Lebanese Red Cross. They are the country’s main provider of ambulances and emergency medical technicians. https://twitter.com/RedCrossLebanon/status/1290787078826086401
- The British Red Cross has also set up a fund: https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/beirut-emergency-appeal
- Impact Lebanon disaster relief fund: Impact Lebanon is raising money for disaster relief
- Beit el Baraka : This Beirut-based organization is helping families and elderly people in Lebanon.
- Baytna Baytak is an organization that gives free housing to health care providers during the pandemic. Now, more than ever, they will need a space.
- Donner Sang Compter: This organization is setting up blood drives and supporting blood donations in Beirut.
- The Beirut Blast Victims Relief Fund has been set up on GoFundMe to help raise money that will be transferred to “reputable” non-governmental organizations to help victims of the Beirut explosions.
- Embrace Lifeline: The Embrace Lifeline is a helpline for mental health support for those in need in Lebanon.
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