“I want to get out”: desperate Lebanese say they are trapped after mass explosion

explosion The Lebanese capital of Beirut was shaken on Tuesday evening which could be the last straw for the people of the city.

Beirut, once known as Paris of the Middle East, was a vibrant and elegant city for most of the 20th century. Its people are known for their education and flexibility. But over the past 50 years, he faced a civil war, the rise of the terrorist group Hezbollah and the recent Syrian refugee crisis. The government is infamous for corruption.

Then came tuesday Heavy explosionWhich which Destroyed a lot of your port And damaged many of the city’s iconic and historic neighborhoods, as well as residential buildings, hospitals and businesses. About a quarter of people lost their homes.

However before the eruption, the country of 6 million suffered from an economic downturn. Bank withdrawals limited to $ 200 per week – more and more.

Now the citizens are trapped. Nur al-Amiri, a distant cousin of this writer, said, “I can no longer live here, I want to get out.” She has a dual nationality – Lebanese and Canadians – but cannot access her savings to leave her.

On August 7, people pass through a destroyed building in Beirut.

Patrick BAZ / AFP via Getty Image

For some, the only solution is to start the country anew and give France its national independence, which it controlled for 20 years after the First World War. More than 60,000 people signed an online petition this week under “Place Lebanon.” French mandate for the next 10 years. ”

In a phone interview with CBS News, Maha Aljmal Dilati, a mother of four children in her 20s, recalled that she was with her family and guests at her apartment in the Mar Elias neighborhood, about 6 miles from the site of the explosion.

“We got a shock and the books started falling off the shelves, a few moments later we heard a big bang and all the windows suddenly shattered on the floor.” There is no harm to him and his family, but he is not optimistic about his prospects.

“I don’t see any future for my children here, I want them to leave,” she said.