BEIRUT: The Lebanese community in Australia lost 4 children: three siblings and their cousin, while 3 other children were injured, in a Sydney suburb.
The Australian police announced that: “A 29-year-old drunk driver ended the life of 4 children, 3 of whom are the children of expatriate Daniel Abdallah and his wife, Leila Geagea.”
The defendant stood on trial on Sunday after facing 20 charges, including manslaughter and high-range drink driving following the incident late Saturday in the Oatlands suburb of western Sydney
The police explained that: “The children were on the sidewalk when a four-wheel drive vehicle struck them,” according to AFP.
The girls aged 8 to 12 and a 13-year-old boy died immediately at the scene, while three other children, two girls and a boy, were injured and taken to hospital where they are being treated and in stable condition.
“I lost three of my children and my cousin Brigitte also lost her daughter,” said Daniel Abdallah to reporters on Sunday morning. “I’m numb, that’s probably how I feel at the moment.”
Abdallah also sent a message to all drivers, saying: “Please be careful. These kids were just walking innocently, enjoying each other’s company and when I woke up this morning, I had lost three kids.”
He added: “My son Anthony loved basketball. He had told him this fateful morning that he will be playing for Kobe Bryant. My daughter Angelina was always there to support me, while Sienna, my second daughter was my little star who loves acting.”
Abdallah updated us on the state of the injured boy, Charbel, saying that he’s currently in a coma, while his third daughter, Mabelle is fine.
He also addressed the people, saying: “Love your children because you never know what can happen.”
In Beirut, Prime Minister Hassan Diab, expressed his grief in a tweet over the “tragedy that affected our people in Australia.” He described it as: “A catastrophe that afflicted Lebanon, not just the victims’ families. All of Lebanon feels sorry."
Foreign Minister, Nassif Hitti, instructed the Ambassador of Lebanon to Australia to follow up the issue and provide all possible assistance to the victims’ families.
Minister of Justice, Marie Claude Najem, pledged in a tweet that: “Investigations will be conducted by the competent judicial authorities in Australia, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to clarify the truth.”
The Lebanese community in Australia is estimated at 230,000 people, making it the No.1 country harboring expatriates, according to the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. About 12,000 expatriates participated in the Lebanese parliamentary elections that took place in May 2018, according to the Lebanese embassy in Canberra. It was the first time in Lebanon’s history where Lebanese expatriates participate in an electoral process.