The Lebanese Physically Handicapped Union issued a joint statement with Legal Agenda this week, criticizing the state’s disregard for those who have developed disabilities as a result of the Beirut Port explosion.
In their statement, they rejected the recent law proposal that states that those who died in the Beirut port explosion should be considered similar to the Lebanese army martyrs and be granted the same benefits.
However, the law does not mention giving compensation to the living victims who have been handicapped by the disastrous blast.
The Union went on and carried out a protest on Thursday noon to denounce the state’s delay in responding to their demands and “deliberately marginalizing them.”
“More than 1000 Lebanese residents are now disabled due to the port explosion,” Sylvana Lakkis, head of the Lebanese Physically Handicapped Union issued during the protest. “The state should consider them just like handicapped Military officials.”
“Those 1000 people deserve to receive compensation and live a fulfilling life,” Lakkis added.
The union pointed out the need for improvements in the laws that relate to people with disabilities.
The symbolic stand by the Lebanese Physically Handicapped Union was held under the Basta Bridge where Toufic Khawam, a physically disabled person, set himself on fire in protest 5 years ago.
The stand coincides with the International Day of People with Disabilities.
The union’s statement said that the law “lacked any real compensation for the people on whose bodies the explosion left evident scars.”
It is unfortunate that the state didn’t only fail to protect its citizens of Beirut, its main port, and half the capital, but it is also failing those severely affected by the blast. That people have to protest to call on the officials to do their duties is as highly concerning.
Then again, the country is heading down an abyss and all that we witness is the political inertia of leaders incapable to even acknowledge the urgency of forming a rescue government.