Heroic nurse woke-up from Beirut blast holding three babies whose lives she saved
via Bilal Marie Jawich / Facebook

A devastating explosion in Beirut, Lebanon has killed over 100 people, injured more than 4,000 and left an estimated 300,00 homeless. Unfortunately, these early reports of the injured and dead are expected to rise in the coming days as more information is made available.

Lebanon's General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim says the blast that occurred in the city's port area was caused by "high explosive materials." It's believed that a warehouse fire ignited 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored nearby.

Lebanese officials say that the ammonium nitrate was confiscated from in 2013 from an Africa-bound ship.


The blast was so massive it's said to have been about one-fifth the size of the atomic blast that leveled Hiroshima, Japan in 1945.

The news traveled around the world through shocking videos taken by first-hand witnesses.

One of the most striking early images of human resilience in the face of tragedy was taken at the Al Roum hospital on the outskirts of Beirut by photojournalist Bilal Jawich. He captured the image of a nurse wearing her scrubs and mask while holding three newborn babies.

The photographer told CNN that he" followed the smoke until I reached the port of Beirut" and that his "journalistic instinct" led him to the hospital.

The photo was taken shortly after the blast rocked the medical center, killing 12 patients, two visitors and four nurses.

According to the photographer, the nurse was surrounded by dozens of bodies wounded or killed in the blast. The unidentified nurse told Jawich that when the blast hit she was in the maternity ward and it left her unconscious.

When she woke up, she "found herself carrying these three children," said.

"I was amazed when I saw the nurse holding three newborns," Jawich told CNN. "I noticed the nurse's calm, which contrasted the surrounding atmosphere just one meter away."

"However, the nurse looked like she possessed a hidden force that gave her self-control and the ability to save those children. People stand out amidst these violent and dark and evil circumstances and this nurse was up to the task," he added.

Jawich says that he has covered "lots of wars" throughout his career as a photographer but has never seen anything like the devastation in Beirut.

A doctor told Al Arabiya English that hospital officials are now working to relocate its patients to unaffected medical facilities.

"We're bringing the patients to the emergency building, and from there, we're trying to send them to different hospitals because the urgent care is also full. What can we do?" Hospital director Firass Abiad said according to Metro UK.

The image of the nurse managing to hold three babies and take a phone call while surrounded by chaos shows the incredible resolve that healthcare have during times of crisis. The nurse is a fantastic example of how this power can be harnessed to create moments of triumph during even the darkest of tragedies.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.