Members of South Florida’s Lebanese community react to explosion, destruction in Beirut capital

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – A massive explosion ripped through the Beirut capital of Lebanon, causing a massive amount of destruction across the city. 

One person said they thought it was Hiroshima because the way the mushroom dust blew over the Port of Beirut.

When that blast shook the Lebanon capital, the ripple effect was felt almost immediately by South Florida families thousands of miles away.

Nabil Salem is a pillar in the Lebanese community in South Florida.

"I received a picture from a balcony 30 miles away and the balcony doors were shattered at their apartment," Salem said. 

He left his home in Beirut 35 years ago, he has family there. 

Throughout the day, Salem has been following developments closely on social media and television.

This happened on a rare day when people happened to be out in the streets.

"In Lebanon, they had a quarantine for five days and this was the two days they opened up, to breathe and run some errands and it seems like there were a lot of people working at the port," Salem explained. 

As rescuers sort through the rubble, countrymen wonder how much more they can take.  No stranger in instability, the combination of pandemic, a bad economy and rampant corruption makes today’s tragedy so more overwhelming for the people of Lebanon.

“As if they needed something like that, the Lebanese people are very resilient, they are able to rebuild and standup, I think this has come at the wrong time,” Salem said.