London — Ghassan Hasrouty was working at his job in the grain silo at Beirut’s port whenTuesday evening, flattening the harbor and damaging much of the city. Now he is missing, and his 19-year-old daughter, Tatiana, is on a mission to find him.
“He’s very wise and brave and he’s very good working under pressure, so I have faith in him that he’s going to be fine, that he’s still there. We just have to work faster to find them,” Tatiana Hasrouty told CBS News.
Her father is one of dozens who have not been heard from since Tuesday’s devastating blasts that left more than 130 dead and thousands wounded. His face is among countless images flooding newly created social media accounts with photos of missing loved ones. Hasrouty says that rescue workers didn’t start digging in the area of the port where some of them might be trapped immediately, because they said it was too dangerous.
“It’s not just my father that’s missing, many are missing but they don’t know how to express it. We are lucky, yes, because we got social media to know about my father and about his case,” she said. “I know that the government won’t do anything about it as usual, so it’s up to us people to stand by each other.”
Hasrouty’s father had to stay late at work on the evening of the explosions and called her mother at 5:30 p.m. to ask that she bring him a blanket and pillow. When the blasts went off at about a half hour later, she tried to reach him to see if he was ok, and got no answer. The explosions were so strong that they shattered the windows in Hasrouty’s suburban Beirut home.
“We stayed up until 3:00 a.m. searching the hospitals, and we couldn’t get any news about him. Now at least we know that he’s still inside and we can help him. We’re just waiting for the government to do something about it. Start digging there,” Hasrouty said.
“We’re actually very sad and devastated. Our feelings are all over the place. We have to urge the authorities to start working and digging to find them. We have to stay strong for my mom,” she said.
Hasrouty said she heard rescue operations finally began Thursday in the area of the port where her father worked. Authorities had said they were delayed because they feared a building might collapse and did not have lights to work overnight.
“Everything that we’re getting is foreign aid. We need our government to start working. You feel here in Lebanon that you can die, nobody will know about you,” she said.
She says that the problems facing Lebanon’s government extend far beyond the explosions, citing long-term corruption and the country’s ongoing economic crisis. Still, she remains hopeful.
“I’m very proud of us Lebanese citizens, because we are here for each other, no matter your religion, no matter anything. We stand by each other. I’ve seen people helping others clean glass and straightening homes, helping them cope, giving them food, water, whatever they need, because so many people lost their homes, lost their loved ones,” she said. “I want to tell the world that everybody, spend time with the ones you love, because you never know when it’s the last time you’re going to see them.”