After the shockwaves

Former Elphinstone girl Indi Phillips was among thousands lucky enough to escape the devastating August 4 explosion in Beirut with her life.
The blast killed 191 people, injured more than 6000 and destroyed much of Lebanon’s capital.
Now the risk analyst and researcher is working with friends across the globe to help rebuild the Lebanese city she has grown to love, and is calling on our help to make it happen.
In an article written for her employer Riskline – Travel Risk Intelligence, Indi said the evening of the explosion was just like any other.
She was at home in her PJs cooking her evening meal when she noticed some small explosions and a plume of smoke coming from the port warehouses.
Her kitchen window overlooks the Beirut port located some 500 metres away.
She took a video and sent it to a work colleague to note the incident and that they should keep an eye on things. A short time later a roaring sound began and the first shockwave hit.
Indi said the windows seemed to “exhale”.
She managed to get to cover against the wall in the next room as the second shockwave hit.
She then leapt behind her bed as the third struck.
“Just as well I did as cupboards and a door landed exactly where I had been minutes before,” Indi said.
As the shockwaves subsided Indi returned to her kitchen to try to retrieve her phone and laptop but they were buried under rubble.
“A shard of glass the size of my hand was protruding from the fridge door,” she told Riskline.
She crawled and climbed her way out of her apartment and onto the street.
Indi said she had worked in conflict management for some time but nothing could have prepared her for the sight of seeing friends and neighbours covered in blood and glass.
Indi’s mum Sue Bruce said they were so relieved to get word that she was okay.
“A lot of people were unaware it was an explosion. They thought it was an attack,” she said.
Sue said that after recovering from the initial shock one of Indi’s first thoughts was ‘Where on earth is Beirut going to get the needed glass to rebuild?’
Some 2.4 million windows were damaged in the blast.
“She was determined to find a way to help rebuild the city she has grown to love over the past two years,” Sue said.
With the support of some wonderful friends in a range of fields in London, Paris and on the ground in Beirut, ‘The People Will Have Windows’ was born, fundraising began in earnest and the team’s first shipment of glass is scheduled to arrive shortly.
Local residents are urged to jump on the website, Instagram or Go Fund Me pages and donate whatever they can.
“TPWHW aim to repair windows home by home and make them habitable again,” Sue said.
Every cent donated is used to procure the much-needed glass and get it to Beirut. ​Costs related to fundraising, publicity and media platforms are all being personally financed by the TPWHW team members.

Indi Phillips’ neighbourhood, just 500 metres from the port, was decimated.

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