One of the expat’s family lives in an area near the port and his grandmother and mother were injured.
Going to one’s homeland on a leave is something one usually looks forward to, but for these Lebanese expats in the UAE, it is the urgency that prompts them to fly back home this time.
Wiam Shawki Malaeb, a Lebanese expat, did not have second thoughts about travelling to his country when he first heard about the Beirut explosions.
“I did not think for too long to pack my bags which are full with medications, bandages and other first aid necessities,” Wiam told Khaleej Times.
Engaging in humanitarian activities is nothing new to Wiam, who works for an airline.
“I took an emergency leave to go to Lebanon and offer as much help as I can.”
He sighed when referring to two friends from his school days who died in the Beirut port blasts. “I also lost a relative who is in the armed forces. Many of our neighbours have been injured or their houses damaged.”
Asked how long he will stay in Lebanon, Wiam said: “I may look into extending my stay depending on the circumstances and how helpful I can be there.”
Wiam, who is active on the field with first aid training and experience, wants to send across a message to his country’s people in the UAE. “Please let us all have the needy and affected families in our thoughts. Let us all help, while ensuring to donate through the proper channels so that the help and aid really reaches the right targets in these difficult times.”
Even before the blasts, Wiam had been relentless in his efforts to bring help and donations including clothes, medications and other necessities to the needy families back home.
Khaleej Times caught up with Samir Habbal, another Lebanese working as an engineer in the UAE, shortly after he boarded the flight to Beirut on Wednesday. He was at a loss for words and this reflected his state of mind. “I am going to check on my family members,” he said briefly.
Habbal family lives in an area near the port and his grandmother and mother were injured. “My grandmother fell down and broke her hand. She lost consciousness and when she woke up, she was unaware of anything for few hours. My mother suffered minor injuries because of a shattered glass. Thank God, she is better now,” he said.
Originally from Lebanon, Marie has been covering the Dubai Courts and the Public Prosecution, immigration and labour issues often, and the Dubai International Film Festival. A graduate from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Jounieh, a city to the north of Beirut, she worked as an in-house reporter of international affairs at a leading TV station back home and a legal translator for a renowned law academy in the Lebanese capital. Speaks fluently four languages and is fond of travelling, psychology, learning more, and has grown by now a rich ‘criminal’ imagination…
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