Diana Al Achkar

Diana, a registered nurse at Saint George University Hospital was saved by a miracle in the Beirut explosion on August 4, 2020.

The year 2020 witnessed the biggest crime the country has ever seen, as Lebanon was under a total lockdown out of fear from the spread of COVID-19, while the number of infections was rapidly increasing. At the time, Diana avoided visiting her parents in Mount Lebanon to protect them from the spreading disease. As fate would have it, she was in close proximity to the port explosion on August 4, 2020.

When the first explosion was heard, Diana and her roommates tried to find the source of the blasting sound, but a second huge explosion was too quick to happen. Resorting to her nurse’s instincts, she laid down on the floor to protect herself from harm.

The sight of blood flowing from her wounded hands, and people rushing to help as she walked down the building, is still etched in her mind and she can never begin to forget.

She spent hours going from one hospital to another in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, until she arrived to Ain Wazein hospital in Chouf, and she saw her fiancé and family for the first time after the blast.

Diana’s right hand underwent a surgical operation followed by months of physical therapy that failed to restore her motor function to what it used to be before her injury. Yet, with the support of her family and fiancé, who later became her husband, she was able to overcome the struggle and she travelled to the UAE to work in her field of expertise.

Diana keeps questioning the identity of those responsible for what happened. She thinks to herself: “if we rebuild what the explosion destroyed, who can bring back those who left with no return? Who will heal the wounds of those who still live in pain every time they remember what their life was like before it all happened?”

These questions and many more might never be answered.