The massive explosion that rocked Beirut on August 4th left a pregnant woman rattled when the blast ripped through her hospital delivery room.
“I saw death with my own eyes…I started feeling ‘is it over?’ I was looking around and at the ceiling, just waiting for it to fall on us,” Emmanuelle, the new mother said to Reuters, recollecting the direct moment of the massive blast that injured 6000 and killed more than 170 people.
The explosive blast occurred as the would-be mother, Emmanuelle Khnaisser, was being wheeled inside the labor room to give birth and her husband Edmond was filming in happy expectation.
“The hospital got completely destroyed while my wife was giving birth,” Edmond told The961.
“The windows were broken, the medical supplies were mixed up all around, and my child was born under phone flashlights due to electricity being cut out while the sun was starting to set.”
The seismic wave of the explosion resulted in massive property damage for St. George Hospital University Medical Center, injuring doctors, nurses, admin staff, patients, and visitors.
Edmond filmed the intense moments before the arrival of their son, catching the whole drama occurring in the delivery room.
At the explosion, Stephanie Yacoub, the chief resident of obstetrics and gynecology, ran out of the room to help an injured nurse. Unfortunately, it was too late and the nurse passed away.
Yacoub hurried back to Emmanuelle to help her give birth to her baby boy, along with Professor Elie Anastasiades and a team of professionals.
One must halt a moment here to point out at the incredible self-control the health professionals managed to maintain all through to save the laboring mother-to-be and her baby.
They didn’t panic, they didn’t freeze, they just kept going, focusing on their mission.
Even after their work was done…
“Professor Elie Anastasiades and his team stayed with us and managed to keep us calm,” Edmond shared with us.
“After that, my wife had to leave the hospital since it was shattered to bits.”
Shattered to the point that Emmanuelle, her infant in her arms, and her husband at her side, had to walk towards the public street, right after giving birth, to take a ride to Aboujaoudé Hospital in Jal El Dib, Edmond recounted.
When asked about the status of Emmanuelle after such traumatizing delivery, Edmond told The961, “My wife was still in shock a few days after, but thankfully she’s recovering.”
Seventeen people died in St. George Hospital right after the explosion and hundreds were badly injured, including Edmond Khnaisser’s mother, who landed six broken ribs and a punctured lung.
As for the little angel who made it through to open his innocent eyes to a devastated world, his name is George, a hero in his own right, a carrier of hope to his parents and all those who witnessed his arrival.
“George is very special. He is the light in the darkness, a birth in the wreckage,” Edmond says.