“Every window is completely destroyed… the cats are alive.”
As the dust began to settle after Tuesday’s shocking explosions in Beirut, families across the Lebanese capital were dealing with the overwhelming aftermath.
Dozens have been killed and thousands injured, and the tolls look likely to rise, given the massive and widespread destruction caused by the explosions.
Our reporter, Bel Trew, captured the immediate fallout in her own apartment, and on her journey through Beirut to get there.
The double blasts – the cause of which is still unknown – caused windows and doors to blow in across the city.
The blast, according to one witness, was felt as far away as Nicosia in Cyprus, some 100 miles from Beirut.
In Bel’s own apartment, in the Geitawi neighbourhood of east Beirut, the glass from every window and door was blown in.
Double glazed windows and steel shutter frames had been ripped from the walls and thrown across the room.
Along the street stunned residents, some injured, walked along a road carpeted with shattered glass and the steel from broken window frames and balcony posts.
Of the explosions themselves, initial video showed a fire raging at the port, sending up smoke and punctuated by what appeared to be fireworks. This blaze appeared to trigger a second, massive explosion, creating a mushroom cloud and shock wave, leading to the devastation across the city.
Abbas Ibrahim, chief of Lebanese General Security, said it might have been caused by highly explosive material that was confiscated from a ship some time ago and stored at the port. Local television channel LBC said the material was sodium nitrate.
In a country already grappling with multiple crises, from endemic and crippling corruption, a worsening Covid situation, and teetering on the edge of hyperinflation, Tuesday’s incident could not have come at a more devastating time.