A fire in a port storage facility in Beirut led to the explosion of 4 tons of ammonium nitrate on August 2020, 2750. The explosion destroyed parts of the port area and caused damage in large parts of the city of Beirut. According to government figures, 190 people were killed and more than 6 injured. The FLYP climbing hall is also affected by the explosion. The operators launched a crowdfunding campaign and asked for support for the reconstruction.
An amount from Juliane Sonntag
Diala Sammakieh, founder and operator of the climbing and fun sports hall FLYP in Beirut, wrote a circular to her team on August 4, 2020 that, contrary to the current opening times, she will not unlock the gates to the indoor walls on that day.
Instead, she drives out to a nearby climbing area and has no idea that rock climbing will literally save her life.
Because while the managing directors are trying to get through their current project, over two thousand tons of ammonium nitrate explode in the port of the capital of Lebanon. 190 people die in this disaster and 6 people are injured. Buildings within a radius of up to 500 kilometers are damaged, including Diala's house and her company FLYP. Of the climbing hall, which was only 20 meters away from the source of the explosion, only a few steel beams and scraps of wall remind you of what used to be there.
20 meter long, sharp components flew through the area, the whole hangar imploded. That day, Diala Sammakieh lost everything she worked for.
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Fellow climbers you can donate through link in bio + Share #HELPBEIRUTCLIMBERS Taking down the part of the wall that was hanging by a thread 💔 Flyp, our climbing gym was heavily damaged in the massive explosion that hit Beirut, Lebanon on the 4th of August 2020 It was a second home to a large part of Lebanon's eclectic and vibrant climbing community where we found stability in a country fraught with political and economical unrest. For the past year people living here have been through a lot; for us climbing has been our refuge, our escape, and most of all a way for us to stay sane. (link in bio for full story)
The political and economic situation is the real crux for the Lebanese people
The country was already weakened by the outbreak of the corona virus, the national financial crisis and the neighboring wars in Syria and the Gaza Strip, in which the ruling Hezbollah is involved and which, not least, also makes up a significant part of the Lebanese government. And the government should also face responsibility for the most serious, non-nuclear explosion in history, some citizens demand, and resign.
Diala explains how she feels about the current situation: “The last year was a difficult year for Lebanon. We want to get rid of this obnoxious [government] party. And you can quote me on that, ”she laughs and immediately becomes serious again. "I've survived 15 years of civil war, I've watched politics for the past few years, and I've never seen such levels of destruction and despair and sadness."
Beirut's climbing community is now dependent on international help. She doesn't need to wait for government support. On the contrary: “Whenever international donations go to the government, the money ends up in the pockets of politicians. That is also the reason why NGOs worldwide now only donate to small, trustworthy organizations. Nobody trusts the authorities anymore, ”says the politically active Lebanese.
So start them up Crowdfunding project, which is to collect 30 US dollars with the help of international donations, with which she could relocate the climbing hall to a new location. The complete reconstruction is currently too expensive, so the FLYP team wants to recycle the few intact wall parts and reassemble them.
The tireless operator already knows where these should then be put back into operation: an exhibition center that was not used by the pandemic, only ten minutes away from the city center, is to be housed in the repaired hall for one to two years. Until business is up and running again and brings in enough money to resurrect the old FLYP.
Before the onset of winter, she would like to open the “transition hall” in order to be able to offer the athletes a training facility for the cold months.
FLYP, a meeting point for international climbers and local newcomers
FLYP was an urban resort where children, young people and adults could enjoy many different trend sports. It housed a trampoline hall, open spaces and obstacles for parcourists and freerunners, as well as bouldering, top rope and lead climbing walls. Young and old could let off steam on an area of 2000 square meters.
The climbing scene in Lebanon has grown continuously over the past few years. Many new rocky areas are being developed and these also attract familiar faces to the Middle East. For example David Lama, who was able to climb the Avataara (2015a) route in the Baatara Gorge for the first time in 9, or Nina Caprez, who is regularly drawn to Lebanon.
But not only the celebrities are responsible for the growth, the FLYP team is also a major reason. When it opened two years ago, the hall offered a second home for 20 climbers. Shortly before the lockdown, this community grew to around 150 members.
Support the crowdfunding project of the climbing hall FLYP
Now support the Diala Sammakieh crowdfunding project and help that the hall can be set up as quickly as possible at a new location and at least in a smaller form.
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Credits: Cover picture George Emile