'It was devastating': Islamic Association of Saskatchewan reacts to explosion in Beirut
Published Friday, August 7, 2020 3:39PM CST
Lebanese soldiers search for survivors after a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020. (AP / Hassan Ammar)
SASKATOON -- The Islamic Association of Saskatchewan (IAS) is offering its thoughts and prayers to people who were affected by the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon on Tuesday.
“It’s important to take care of one another and I think just in Saskatoon, even if we aren’t directly affected by it, knowing that people in our community might be should be enough of a reason to care,” said Areeba Bilal, who works on the IAS Media, Communications and Outreach Committee.
The explosion happened at Beirut’s port, killing nearly 150 people, injuring thousands of others and causing billions of dollars in damage across the city.
Officials say the explosion was caused by a fire that set off more than 2,750 tons of explosive ammonium nitrate at a warehouse in Beirut's port.
Bilal said she heard about the explosion first thing when she woke up Tuesday.
“It was devastating to hear and see all of the pictures that were coming out,” she said.
The shock wave of the explosion was felt more than 240 kilometres away.
If the Beirut explosion were to happen in Saskatoon, its impact would be felt as far as Regina.
“Why people in Lebanon were affected so deeply by this is because you don’t expect something like this to happen, so by saying oh, ‘this would never happen here,‘ people over there probably felt the same way,” she said.
Bilal said it’s tragic that something like this happened, especially during a global pandemic and at the brink of economic collapse.
She stressed that it is important for people to educate themselves about the situation so that they know how to help and provide support.
Bilal also encourages people to reach out to people in their community.
“There might be international students or newcomers or anyone who is from Lebanon in Canada so it’s not that far away when you consider that it could be your own neighbours and they might have family there.”