Candlelight vigil in Riverside honors victims of Beirut explosion

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A vigil was held Friday in Riverside, days after a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon killed 154 people and wounded thousands.

People lit candles and held a moment of silence for the country. President Trump announced during a news conference that the U.S. is sending relief aid.

Many who attended the vigil still have loved ones in Beirut who are piecing their lives back together.

Hearing that President Trump is sending help was a relief for some, but they said they hope it gets in the right hands.

“I almost lost my sister in a blink of an eye,” said Myriam Barakat, who showed a video from inside her sister’s home in Beirut during the blast.

She wasn’t injured, but there are thousands now without homes.

“My family survived in a miracle way,” Barakat said. “If you see the videos, they missed the blast by a few seconds. But some did not.”

“I saw the bomb before my brother reached out to me, and I thought they were dead,” said Leila El Ghali, who also has family in Beirut.

Trump announced Friday he’s sending first responders, doctors and nurses to help.

“We stand firmly with the people of Lebanon and continue to offer our full support. We haven’t seen anything like this in a long time,” said Trump.

“What happened Tuesday is not acceptable,” said Barakat. “It’s not human.”

The group that hosted the Friday vigil has also set up a fundraiser on Facebook where people can donate. They said the money will provide shelter, food and medicine through charities.

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