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Scarred for life: Beirut blast victims and life-altering wounds | Lebanon News



Beirut, Lebanon – Hassan Nabha, 27, is among 6,000 people injured during the blast at Beirut’s port. Many are expected to fully recover from their wounds, but Nabha is among those who may not.

When the young engineer left his home on the morning of August 4, he thought it would be a normal workday at the internet service provider company he worked at.

But with his workplace located near the site of a deadly blast caused by the detonation of nearly 3,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate at Beirut’s port, that day changed his life forever.

“The moment I saw the smoke rise, I believed it was the end and I was dead,” said Nabha.

“I regained some balance, but I couldn’t feel my eye or my hands. My face was like dough, full of glass and drenched in blood,” he recalled.

“But my legs were working so I ran for my life,” said Nabha. He saw bodies and dozens of injured people on the streets of Gemmayze, before he found an ambulance that took him to a hospital.

Although Nabha lived to tell the tale, the force of the explosion left him half-blind and “scarred for life”, he said, as he sat on the balcony of his family home in Khaldeh, just south of Beirut.

“I can’t see with my left eye, my face – which took 400 stitches to sew up – looks deformed, and I don’t know if my finger will be useable again,” said the young man.

Sitting across from him, Nabha’s father, Ali, recalled how his son was unreachable for hours before someone contacted the family telling them where to look.

“I rushed through the hospital like a crazy man, uncovering sheets pulled over dead bodies,” said Ali.

He choked on his words, stopping for a moment before he could continue. “I didn’t want to find him.”

Filled with grief, the father pulled out his phone and flicked through photos of his son from before the incident.

“Look how beautiful he was,” he said as he proudly showed an image of a handsome blue-eyed man with slick dark hair combed neatly back. To a stranger, there was little resemblance between the two.

“I have seen dark days, death and destruction during the civil war, but nothing broke me like seeing my son this way,” said Ali, tears rolling down his face.

He appeared to blame himself for what had happened. 

“When he told me a few years ago that he wanted to move to Canada, I insisted that he stay,” said Ali, shaking his head regrettably before lowering his gaze to the floor.


Hassan Nabha is among at least 150 people who have been disabled – in one way or another – as a result of the blast, according to a health ministry tally.

“The number might be even higher, but we are still in the process of combing through cases at various hospitals before reaching an exact tally,” said Joseph al-Hilw, director of medical care at the ministry.

“Most of the long-term disabilities are blindness or loss of limbs,” said al-Hilw.

He added the ministry was fully responsible for the lifelong treatment of all Lebanese victims of the blast – including the cost of prosthetic limbs and reconstructive eye surgeries – whereas UN agencies would have to fund the treatment of Syrian and Palestinian refugees.

Ibrahim Omeis, a neurosurgeon at the American University of Beirut Hospital – one of the busiest the night of the blast – said the bodies of many victims were severely scarred and will require extensive reconstructive surgery. 

He added: “And even if many victims’ physical injuries can be treated, many more suffer post-traumatic stress symptoms which will take much longer to overcome.”

‘Half a man’

Even more devasted by his injures was Mohamed Da’douey, a 40-year-old who worked as a driver at a security company that was also located along the port.

Da’douey was in his car, ready to go home after a long day at work, when the explosion hit at 6:18pm local time. His car was parked just 50 metres away from the infamous Hangar 12 at Beirut’s port where the ammonium nitrate was stored.

Speaking from his hospital bed in Ajaltoun, north of Beirut, Da’douey explained the blast left him blind in his left eye, with only 20 percent vision in his right one, an amputated leg, and an arm that he may never be able to use again.

Mohamed Da’doey, 40, lost his left eye, a leg, and potentially his arm because of the blast [Courtesy: Mohamed Da’doey]

He said although three weeks after the explosion his condition was stable, the injuries he sustained had altered his life forever and left him permanently disabled.

“The worst thing is being blind,” said Da’douey. “Without an eye I am nothing. I’m half a man,” said the father of three.

Da’douey and his family said they would demand a prosthetic limb and eye surgery, as well as compensation from the state for his vehicle that was destroyed in the blast.

“My car was the only thing I had to get around and take my children out over the weekend,” he said. “But now I don’t know if I’ll be able to see or walk again.”

Adamant to survive

Like most Lebanese – many who have been taking part in mass anti-government protests since October last year – both men held a “corrupt government” and “neglect” responsible for what happened that day.

“If this was a war, I could overcome it,” said Da’douey. “But it wasn’t a war and there wasn’t an enemy.” 

Despite their severe and life-altering wounds, the resilient men are adamant to recover and lead as much of a normal life as possible.

“I have a family that depends on me,” said Da’douey. “I need to get up and provide for them.”

Likewise, Nabha said he had not given up on his dream of going to Canada, but this time he wants to go with his fiancee Taj.

“It didn’t happen a few years ago, but I’m adamant to pursue my dreams,” said Nabha. “There’s no future here anyway.”

But even for victims who did not lose an eye or a limb, the effects of the incident will never leave them.

Hussein Haydar, a 27-year-old who worked at the same company as Nabha, is able to see but still has glass stuck in his right eye and scars all over his face.

“These scars,” he said pointing at his cheek as he sat in his family home in the Dahiyeh suburbs of Beirut. “They will remain with me – a memory forever.”

Follow Arwa Ibrahim on Twitter: @arwaib

Beirut blast victims

Doctors told Hussein Haydar his eye injuries will recover, but his facial scars will remain [Arwa Ibrahim/Al Jazeera]

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million



Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe




A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News




Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.

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