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Wall Street Journal Reporter's Daughter Recovering After Beirut Explosion


The massive explosions that killed more than 150 people in Beirut left a deep scar on the Lebanese city. In the hours after the blast on Tuesday, we spoke with Dion Nissenbaum. He's a Wall Street Journal reporter in Beirut. But in that very moment, his instincts were that of a father.


DION NISSENBAUM: And I just had to dive to the ground and use my body to shield her from as much of the glass and wood that was - just blew into our house and then blew back the other way somehow.


That person he was protecting was his 4-year-old daughter, Iman Jilani. He was taking her to the bathroom when the explosion tore through his home.


NISSENBAUM: She got very deep lacerations in her leg and arm and abdomen that had to have sutures. She's still in shock. I also got lacerations. I'm still pulling glass from my head and had to be sutured up. But thank goodness we're all alive.

MARTIN: After the explosion, Iman's mother, Seema, who's a doctor, stopped the bleeding, and she was rushed to the hospital. We checked back in a few days later to see how the family was doing.

NISSENBAUM: The good news is that our daughter was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon here. And she's so strong, she wanted to walk out on her own two feet. The family captured that moment as Iman limped out of the hospital wearing a turquoise dress.


SEEMA JILANI: (Unintelligible) We're walking home.


S JILANI: Mashallah. Hamdillah. Thank God.


S JILANI: Why? What a gift.

MARTIN: That's Iman and her mom talking there. They have much to be grateful for, including the hospital staff who treated Iman.

NISSENBAUM: I'm sure the nurses say it all the time, but the nurse said she was the bravest girl that she'd seen. And you know, she's laughing again, which is great.

GREENE: As they are continuing as a family to recover, they have been assuring Iman that she will walk faster as she heals.


IMAN: 'Cause I have to walk, right?

S JILANI: Yeah. It's OK. You'll get used to it. You'll get faster with practice every time. OK?

GREENE: Now, Nissenbaum is a reporter, and he's going to be digging for answers on what caused this massive explosion. The authorities blame explosive materials stockpiled at the waterfront. But right now, like so many in Beirut, he is caring for his family and also remembering those who have lost so much more.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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