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THE BEIRUT BLAST INITIATIVE

by Hayek Group LLC and MENA City Lawyers

On the fourth of August 2020, Lebanon faced one of its’ worst crisis in years. We experienced one of the most powerful non-nuclear explosions in history. Thousands were injured. Dozens died. Many more were left missing, without a trace. Buildings, apartments, and businesses were completely destroyed.

Hayek Group LLC is a family business specialized in engineering, contracting, and construction, established in 1951 by the late Samir Hayek. We were born and raised in Achrafieh, and so is our company. Our offices, located in the heart of the area, were severely damaged by the explosion. Achrafieh is our family’s and business’ heart and soul. For this reason, we feel the obligation to sustain Beirut’s heritage and glory.

As a response to this tragic event, Hayek Group LLC and MENA City Lawyers (MCL) have partnered up to provide free damage reports for those whose properties were damaged by the August 4 Beirut Blast. This allows victims to document their losses. Our report can also be used in a legal context, in case of any conflict with other abrasives.

Michelle Hayek, Hayek Group’s Recruitment Manager, was in charge of mobilizing volunteers for the project.

“This is one of the most important volunteering projects we have taken on as a company. Our goal is humanitarian. We want to help our city and its’ dear citizens. We understand their pain, and we hope to do what we can to help them gain back their material losses.”

Four passionate and talented civil engineering graduates from Notre Dame University were recruited as volunteers for the project. When asked why she joined the team, one of our volunteers, Sarah, expressed her desire to fulfill her duty as a Lebanese citizen.

            “Ever since the Beirut Blast happened, I felt a great sense of responsibility. We as Lebanese people should stand up for each other, because that is all we have.”

Volunteers were split into two teams. Serge and Sarah handled site visits. They visited dozens of apartments and properties that were partially or completely destroyed by the blast. Serge recalls a visit he will never forget:

             “During one of our site visits in Basta, I remember meeting an old woman whose apartment got completely destroyed. She  was in a very difficult financial situation. I was stunned by her passion and optimism. Even in the hardest of times, she was ready to give back to her community and her country.”

The team collaborated with Maura and Georges, who worked from the Hayek Group office in Saifi. They handled administrative work, such as contacting the property owners, writing the reports, and drafting the BOQ.

As future engineers, the four volunteers were able to gain professional insight. Georges felt like the Beirut Blast project was a great learning experience:

            “I personally learned a lot from this experience. It taught me professionalism and perfectionism. I was also able to work with  an amazing team, and to gain practical knowledge in my field.”

Looking back on her experience, Maura felt a sense of gratitude:

           “I would like to thank Hayek Group and MCL for launching this initiative, because it answers a very important problem. As engineers, we are able to change peoples’ lives.”

The Beirut Blast initiative was born out of Hayek Group’s and MCL’s desire to make the best use of their expertise and experience in order to give back to their community. Abdallah Hayek, CEO of Hayek Group, sees it as a passion project: “I have never felt so proud of our team and the work we accomplished together. I hope that our initiative helped those in need.”

Mtr. Fady Jamaleddine, chairman and founding partner of MCL, hopes for many more initiatives to come: “As MENA City Lawyers, we are glad and honored to be part of this great benevolent initiative. We take it as an introduction to the future involvement of MENA City Lawyers in more probono activities. Our contribution in our society should have no limit.”

Our two groups are committed to make Lebanon a better place. We hope that history doesn’t repeat itself. However, this experience taught us that tragedy can bring people together for the better good.

The Hayek Group team would like to thank Mtr. Fadi Jamaleddine and MENA City Lawyers for their collaboration and great contribution to this project. We would also like to thank Serge, Sarah, Georges, and Maura for the time and effort they have put into this initiative.

For further inquiries on the Beirut Blast initiative, please contact us on: [email protected]

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