SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Bay Area came together Thursday to support the victims of the powerful explosions in Beirut two days before.
Organized by members of the Bay Area Lebanese community, the vigil got underway a little after 7 p.m. near Cupid’s Span in the Embarcadero. It began with a moment of silence that lasted 48 seconds, the length of the two concurrent blasts on Aug. 4. During the vigil, \ctor and singer Franc D’ambrosio sang “‘Ave Maria.”
For the Bay Area Lebanese community, the vigil is a chance to mourn the 137 killed and send help to the thousands still suffering.
Like so many others, Maya Labban’s friend in Beirut couldn’t believe what she saw when the pair of explosions went off, destroying half the city.
“She was taking a video of it and then the blast happened. The impact threw her back with glass and everything,” said Labban.
Her friend made it to the hospital and survived the blast. But with the death toll topping 130, thousands injured, hundreds still missing, and hundreds of thousands without homes, the need for help is growing.
“We need all the help we can get. Every cent helps. The Red Cross and other NGOs that are helping are saving peoples lives,” said Joey Diab of Meghterbin Mejtemiin Network (Diaspora United).
Diab said his sister and her baby were inside their family home in Beirut as glass shattered all around them. They’re okay, But his best friend’s 3-year-old daughter is in critical condition with a head injury.
“We are praying and hoping for a miracle,” said Diab.
They prayed and mourned for the victims and used candles to write “Beirut” in Arabic.
“It’s humbling that people who have nothing to do with my country are trying to gather to come together and to help out,” said Labban.
To help victims of the blast, the vigil’s organizers asked that donations be sent to the Lebanese Red Cross.