These astonishing images show the scale of the destruction in Beirut after an explosion tore through the port killing more than 100 people, leaving thousands injured and 300,000 people now homeless.Rescuers worked throughout the night and into Wednesday morning scouring ground zero for survivors after the cataclysmic blast that has wrecked entire neighbourhoods in the Lebanese capital.
The scale of the destruction was such that the capital resembled the scene of an earthquake, with thousands of people left homeless as smoke rose from fires still burning this morning.Hospitals across the wrecked city were overwhelmed with patients, as medics worked in impossible conditions after the electricity was knocked out in the blast. Beirut’s governor, Marwan Abboud, broke into tears as he toured the blast site. ‘Beirut is a devastated city,’ he said.
Marwan Ramadan was 500 yards away from the port but was still blown off his feet by the blast. ‘It was a real horror show,’ he said. ‘I haven’t seen anything like that since the days of the war.’ The streets on Wednesday morning were littered with glass and entire buildings have been destroyed or left without roofs or balconies as people walked the streets dazed and weeping as they surveyed the ruins around them.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab vowed those responsible will ‘pay the price’ as he declared a two-week state of emergency to deal with the crisis.As crestfallen residents surveyed the damage today, the true cost of the explosion could hit £5billion according to the governor of Beirut Marwan Abboud.The blast – in a country already in the midst of an economic crisis – appeared to have been caused by a fire igniting 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate left unsecured in a warehouse and was felt as far away as Cyprus, some 150 miles to the northwest. It is thought to have been sparked when a welder caused a fire at the port, which in turn set light to a warehouse storing chemicals which had been seized from a ship six years ago.