Shocking before and after images show how Beirut was decimated by explosion

Shocking before and after pictures show the true extent of the devastation caused by the explosion in Beirut.

At least 135 people were killed and thousands left homeless when 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate detonated at the city’s port on Tuesday.

Shockwaves smashed building facades, sucked furniture out into streets and shattered windows miles inland.

Images of of the aftermath show how warehouses and storage units surrounding the blast zone now lie in ruins.

Rescue crews are still searching area in an attempt to retrieve bodies from homes flattened by the blast.

Beirut’s port – the epicentre of the explosion – was once one of the region’s busiest but has now been reduced to virtually nothing.



Other satellite pictures show the Orient Queen cruise ship capsized due to the force of the blast

Up to a quarter of a million people were left without homes fit to live in while the damage is expected to cost around $5bn (£4bn).

The death toll was expected to rise from the blast, which officials blamed on a huge stockpile of highly explosive material stored for years in unsafe conditions at the port.



Shocking before and after images show how Beirut was decimated by explosion

“This explosion seals the collapse of Lebanon. I really blame the ruling class,” said Hassan Zaiter, 32, a manager at the heavily damaged Le Gray Hotel in downtown Beirut.

Relatives gathered at a cordon to Beirut port seeking information on those still missing as the search continued.

Many of those killed were port and custom employees, people working in the area or those driving nearby during the Tuesday evening rush hour.



Shocking before and after images show how Beirut was decimated by explosion


Shocking before and after images show how Beirut was decimated by explosion

Some victims were hurled out to sea by the powerful blast.

The Red Cross was coordinating with the Health Ministry to set up morgues as hospitals were overwhelmed.

Health officials reported that hospitals were running out of beds and equipment to attend to the injured.

Beirut’s Clemenceau Medical Center was “like a slaughterhouse, blood covering the corridors and the lifts,” said Sara, one of its nurses.



Shocking before and after images show how Beirut was decimated by explosion

The explosion was the most powerful ever in Beirut, a city still scarred by civil war that ended three decades ago and reeling from an economic meltdown and a surge in coronavirus infections.

The blast rattled buildings on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, about 100 miles (160 km) away.

“No words can describe the horror that has hit Beirut last night, turning it into a disaster-stricken city,” President Michel Aoun said in an address to the nation during an emergency cabinet session.

Aoun said 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilisers and bombs, was stored for six years at the port after it was seized.



Shocking before and after images show how Beirut was decimated by explosion


Shocking before and after images show how Beirut was decimated by explosion

The government was “determined to investigate and expose what happened as soon as possible, to hold the responsible and the negligent accountable,” he said.

An official source familiar with preliminary investigations blamed the incident on “inaction and negligence”, saying “nothing was done” by committees and judges involved in the matter to order the removal of hazardous material.

The cabinet ordered port officials involved in storing or guarding the material to be put under house arrest, ministerial sources told Reuters.

Officials have not confirmed the origin of an initial blaze that sparked the explosion, although a security source and local media said it was started by welding work.

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