Sarnia councillor says blast in Lebanese homeland heartbreaking

Sarnia Councillor Dave Boushy stands before a home in Beirut being built by Canadians of Lebanese background...May 2016 (Submitted photo)

A Sarnia politician of Lebanese descent says his heart breaks for those impacted by the massive explosion Tuesday in Beirut.

City Councillor David Boushy said the Lebanese capital is a jewel of the Middle East, and to see part of it in ruins is devastating for everyone.

“My wife and I don’t have immediate family in Beirut but we certainly are hurting with them and we grieve the loss of those that died and feel with their loved ones,” he said. “However, talking with a relative in Beirut, he mentioned that the port, which is a very important centre, is now in complete ashes. He said that 50 per cent of the Lebanese population is in poverty right now.”

As of Wednesday, at least 135 people were reported dead and more than 5,000 have been injured.

Boushy said a number of people, groups and organizations have already stepped up to help, including the Canadian government.

“I’m so grateful for our federal government, who’s already pledged in support and help. All I can say to you is that we are all doing our part to help those desperate and helpless in Beirut. This to us is a humanitarian disaster that breaks your heart.”

Boushy said he and his wife plan to help through the Red Cross.

He added that the last time he visited the area was in 2016 when he was invited by the foreign affairs minister for a conference.

“I spent three days with them in the conference and then I took a tour through Beirut and through Lebanon. It was a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful country and a beautiful city.”

An investigation is underway to determine why over 2,700 tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate had been stored at the port for six years.