PLACER COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — From his Placer County home, a Beirut native watched the Lebanese news eager for any updates on the blast that killed at least 135 people while injuring thousands more, including his aunt and niece.
“My parents, my brother and sister, family members, cousins, friends, I mean, everybody is impacted,” Louay Owaidat told FOX40. “I mean, it took us about two days to make sure that everybody is OK.”
Owaidat said his family was injured even though they were around 5 miles away from the port at the time of the explosion.
“Yes, I mean the shockwave pretty much damaged about 50% of the buildings in Beirut,” Owaidat said.
Born and raised in Lebanon’s capital city, Owaidat has been in the U.S. since the mid-80s, visiting his native city of Beirut often, including last summer.
But he had to cancel a trip last month due to the pandemic.
“A matter of fact, we are kind of blessed we did not go because we would spend a lot of time in that area,” Owaidat said.
Now, the CEO of a local company wants people around the world to keep his native country in mind.
Lebanon was already enduring economic hardship prior to COVID-19 and now, it faces a massive loss of life and yet another economic setback.
“So, hopefully, the geopolitical situation in the Middle East will leave Lebanon alone and will allow it to come out of this mess and prosper again,” Owaidat said.
Owaidat said he has many items he was hoping to ship to Beirut but now, doesn’t know when he’ll be able to due to the severe damage at the port.