Lebanon is reeling from the extensive damage from Tuesday night’s explosion, with the port area flattened and buildings further afield in the city’s residential areas damaged. Efforts to treat the injured have been hampered by the fact that hospitals are among the damaged buildings.
The explosion was so powerful that it was felt in Cyprus, 193 km away.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate had been unsanitaryly stored in a warehouse for six years. After a first explosion and a fire in the harbor, it is believed to be the cause of a second explosion, with a huge fireball and a white cloud sending a shock wave through the city.
Shop windows and apartments were blown up to 2 miles from the port, littering the streets with broken glass and injuring hundreds.
In the port itself, several warehouses were completely demolished. These include the grain elevators, which are said to have stored around 85% of the country’s grain.
Video footage shows buildings next to the port area suffering heavy damage as the shock wave spreads through the city.
The governor of Beirut said the damage from the explosion extended to more than half of the city and that up to 300,000 people were homeless.
Rescue teams are looking for missing people in the debris of several neighborhoods, while hospitals are overwhelmed by thousands of injured.
The impact of the explosion can be measured from aerial images showing the port before and after the explosion. A piece of the wharf where the explosion took place is missing and the immediate surroundings appear almost completely leveled.
A close-up view taken from a drone shows the smoldering remains of erased buildings, with water filling a crater where the wharf was destroyed.
The destructive scope of the explosion can be seen in the damage to an entertainment venue more than 1 km from the port from the site of the explosion.