Amal's husband Mohammad with their young daughter

Amal's husband Mohammad was working in the port at the time of the explosion. Photo credit: A. Finistre / MDM

“This has helped me cope”

“I was at home with my four children,” says Amal, whose husband Mohammad was working at the port in Beirut at the time of the explosion. “I didn’t know how to reach my husband until someone told me he was in the hospital.”

She went to visit him the next day, relieved to find him awake, despite his head injuries. The whole experience was “traumatizing and scary,” she says.

Since the blast badly damaged their rented house, they were told they had to leave.

“We didn’t know what to do or where to go as all the houses were affected and no one was willing to provide a place to rent,” she says.

They found a temporary place to stay with some friends.

But things were very difficult for the family.

“My children, especially the younger ones, were crying more often and wouldn’t leave me alone,” she says, adding the doctors told Mohammad to rest and stay off work for at least six weeks.

“It was a very stressful period,” Amal says, noting that both she and Mohammad also felt anxious and afraid.

Then she met a representative from Doctors of the World (MdM), a member organization of the Humanitarian Coalition.

With support from Canadians through the Humanitarian Coalition and the Canadian government’s matching fund, MdM helped the family find a new place to live, provided support for rent, provided psychological support sessions for the children, and enabled Mohammad to get follow-up medical attention.

“They were very helpful. They listened to us and asked us questions and tried to help as much as they could,” Amal says, adding the children look forward to the sessions.

“I have noticed improvement in their behaviour and the fear has reduced.” She says they have become less clingy.

Now, she says, “I have time to focus on myself and this has helped me to cope with all the stressors we are facing.”