A nurse saved three newborns in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, after a major explosion Tuesday left at least 135 people dead and thousands more injured.
In a photo captured by photojournalist Bilal Jawich, the nurse, who hasn’t been identified, can be seen holding three tiny babies wrapped in blankets in her arms. The photo was reportedly taken in the maternity ward of Al Roum Hospital. Much of the area was destroyed by the blast, including severe damage to the hospital.
"I was amazed when I saw the nurse holding three newborns," Jawich told CNN of the moments before he took the photo. "I noticed the nurse's calm, which contrasted the surrounding atmosphere just one meter away."
Jawich said the nurse told him she had been knocked unconscious by the blast and when she came back to herself, she was holding the babies.
"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.
While the babies were lucky to have been saved, 18 people in the hospital were killed by the explosion, according to reports. CNN reported that the babies and their mothers were transported to other hospitals.
The Lebanese government has declared a two-week state of emergency after the explosion, and an investigation is underway. Prime Minister Hassan Diab linked the explosion to a large amount of ammonium nitrate that had been confiscated and was being stored in a warehouse near the city’s port for years.
The ammonium nitrate, which is highly explosive, was reportedly already a source of concern and the country’s judiciary had sent several warnings about the storage of it being dangerous, according to local news reports.
"I will not rest until we find those responsible for what happened, hold them accountable, and impose maximum punishment," Diab said in a statement.