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.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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