Beirut blast survivor dog gives birth to puppies in the rubble

Tue, 2021-05-04 21:56

BEIRUT: While removing chemical containers at the Beirut port explosion site, German firm Combi Lift discovered a female dog who not only survived the deadly blast from last August but also gave birth to three puppies while inside an acid container.

“The puppies were found around three months ago,” said Roger Accaoui, vice president of Perpetual Animal Watch (PAW), a non-profit organization that cares for pets and finds homes for stray dogs in Lebanon.

Combi Lift and the head of its delegation, Heiko Wilderhof, contacted PAW when they found the puppies and their mom, who were in desperate need of care.

According to Accaoui, the female dog was among several stray dogs that survived and continued to live in the rubble following the catastrophic blast on Aug. 4 that killed 211 people and injured more than 6,000.

“She gave birth to mixed-breed puppies inside an acid container and they remained in the contaminated area,” Accaoui said. “One of the puppies passed away due to the contamination. The two remaining puppies underwent medical tests and got vaccinated while their mother remained at the port.”

Accaoui said the surviving puppies were taken to a farm to receive treatment after suffering from infections.

“A family called wanting to adopt a puppy and when they found out the story of these puppies, they empathized even more and decided to adopt one,” Accaoui said.

Wilderhof was so touched by the unlikely experience that he decided to adopt the other puppy and later named it “Samir” after a friend he met in Beirut. After some time to recover, Samir left for Germany with Wilderhof’s daughter last Saturday.

Nine months have passed since the massive explosion, which also destroyed the city’s waterfront and residential neighborhoods facing the port. Nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrates — a highly explosive material used in fertilizers — had been improperly stored in the port for years and fueled the deadly blast. Work to remove and sort through the rubble is still ongoing.

Lebanon hired Combi Lift in the wake of the explosion and the German firm said it found 58 containers at the port that posed a threat to the city. Some of the containers had been there for more than a decade.

The German firm is still waiting for a SR7.5 million ($2 million) payment before it can proceed with the operation of removing the chemical containers.

Accaoui said the port explosion site is still teeming with abandoned dogs. Many have taken shelter in the debris because the houses where they used to live were destroyed in the blast.

“These dogs go to the port specifically since it is an extension of the main cow and sheep slaughterhouse in Beirut, which provides them with food,” said Accaoui, who also announced a July start date for a trap-neuter-release campaign for stray dogs in the port area.

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