Wed, 23 Sep 2020

A nurse takes care of three babies in a damaged hospital after the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, Aug. 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Bilal Jawich)

"I have to protect them, they are under my responsibility," said Pamela Zeinoun, a Lebanese nurse who was seen holding three babies after the massive explosion in Beirut.

BEIRUT, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Hearing the massive blast, Bilal Jawich, a Beirut photographer working for Xinhua, jumped onto his motorcycle and rushed toward the port, following the smoke.

On his way to the port, Jawich decided to take a look inside the Al Roum Hospital which was severely damaged by the explosion. It is in that hospital, he took a picture that touched hearts around the world.

In the picture, a young nurse was seen holding three newborn babies close to her chest, while making a phone call.

"It was a total mess in the hospital, there were bodies and wounded people on the floor, and many were in hysteria, they caught me and kept asking 'What happened? What happened?'" Jawich said, at this moment, the nurse caught his attention.

"She was so calm as if she possessed a hidden force," he said.

The photo went viral on the internet, with many hailing the nurse as a hero.

Pamela Zeinoun, the 26-year-old nurse, told Xinhua that she was knocked unconscious by the blast, and after opening up her eyes, she rushed to the incubators to save the newborns from debris.

She said she was trying to call her parents when the photo was taken. "I wanted to tell them that I'm safe and I will not be home soon," she said, but she failed to get through.

Afterward, she made her way out of the damaged hospital with the babies.

"I was holding them, running in the street, trying to find another hospital that can bring the babies to safety. It was really tough," Zeinoun recalled that some people took off their clothes for her to cover the babies to keep them warm.

"All the time I was counting their heads to make sure they were still there," she said.

Finally, she succeeded in bringing the babies to another hospital. Now the babies are all safe and sound.

"I have to protect them, they are under my responsibility," Zeinoun said.

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