Two enormous explosions rocked Beirut’s port on Tuesday, killing at least 27 people and wounding thousands, shaking distant buildings and leaving the Lebanese capital in fear and chaos.
The deafening second blast sent an enormous orange fireball into the sky, flattened the harbourside and sent a tornado-like shockwave ripping through the city, shattering windows kilometres away.
Bloodied casualties stumbled among debris and burning buildings across central Beirut as Health Minister Hamad Hassan reported an initial estimated toll of 27 dead and 2,500 injured, calling it “a disaster in every sense of the word”.
A soldier at the port told AFP: “It’s a catastrophe inside. There are corpses on the ground.”Relatives of people who worked inside the blast zone gathered at a security cordon as they scrambled for news of their loved ones.
“Ambulances are still lifting the dead,” the soldier said.
The blasts were heard as far away as Nicosia on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, 240 kilometres (150 miles) away.