Reda Sawaya wrote in “Al-Akhbar”: The explosion of the port did not separate its victims and damages between one Lebanese and another, nor between one nationality and another. Despite this, the practices of individuals, associations and several official bodies insist – intentionally or unintentionally – to distinguish between victims and those affected, especially against foreign workers, especially those from African and Asian countries, of whom thousands have lived in the open since the tragedy. These people, no one asks about them: neither the state fundamentally incapable of caring for its citizens, nor their countries that abandoned them and closed the doors of its consulates and embassies in their face, which makes them a social bomb that warns in the event that solutions are delayed an explosion that may be difficult to control.
The problem of foreign (non-Arab) workers began to worsen since before the explosion, specifically since the acceleration of the economic and financial crisis and the collapse of the exchange rate of the lira, which prompted many employers to “literally” throw their workers on the streets, under the pretext of their inability to pay their dues in dollars, Note that many of these have not received their dues for months (and in some cases for more than a year). The explosion came to increase the size of this humanitarian disaster, especially since the affected areas included a huge concentration of foreign labor.
“We don’t have accurate figures on the number of foreign workers who have become homeless,” according to Beirut’s governor, Judge Marwan Abboud, pointing out that “before the explosion, we were striving to address the situation of workers who were abandoned by their employers and dumped on the streets. To this end, we initiated an agreement with UNICEF to improve the conditions of their housing, living and deportation. We were also planning to build a center to receive them … until the disaster that obstructed these efforts. Abboud admitted that “the state has not dealt, until now, properly with this thorny humanitarian file.” However, the matter “is not at all due to racist reasons or indifference to their tragic situation, but rather to the lack of capabilities in light of a calamity of this magnitude. We are hardly able to deal with the tragedy that befell the Lebanese ».
Farah Baba, Communication Officer for the Anti-Racism Movement, estimates the number of foreign workers who have become homeless in the thousands, and what makes it difficult to accurately determine their numbers is that “many of them lack documentation and their illegal legal status, which reinforces their fears and prevents them from communicating with the official authorities. Add to that, until this moment, many foreign workers are still being thrown into the streets by their employers, so that some residents of the affected areas abandoned their workers on the night of the explosion. ” Read full article Press here.