Tears, missing and dead in the port of Beirut

Tears, missing and dead in the port of Beirut

Man carries injured woman in Ashrafiye neighborhood

© Marwan TAHTAH
Man carries injured woman in Ashrafiye neighborhood

At one of the entrances to the port of Beirut, a young woman runs screaming her brother’s name. He is called Jad and has green eyes, he describes, shaken. Security forces don’t let it pass.

A few meters away, another woman desperately searches for her brother, after the explosions in the port of the Lebanese capital, which left more than 70 dead and 3,000 injured, caused unprecedented destruction in the city and traumatized its residents.

For more than three hours, the sound of ambulances does not stop. They enter the hilly area and leave carrying victims. At the epicenter of the explosion, the scene is apocalyptic: the containers resemble twisted tin cans and their contents spread across the floor. Flames and clouds of black smoke overtake the sky. Army helicopters try, in vain, to extinguish them with sea water.

Helicopter tries to put out fire caused by explosions in the port of Beirut

Helicopter tries to put out fire caused by explosions in the port of Beirut

The fire devours a boat moored in front of the port. At the dock, security guards fear the fuel tanks will explode. Three hours after the catastrophe, a body is lying on the floor. Next to it, there is an intact briefcase.

The floor is filled with suitcases, glasses, shoes, briefcases and documents from nearby offices hit by the impact of the explosions. Tens of meters away, you can see rows of destroyed imported cars, with flashing headlights and alarms following the noise of ambulances.

– Shattered bodies –

Some firefighters, perplexed, look for colleagues trying to put out a fire that occurred before the explosions, according to one of them. Rescuers, aided by security agents, look for survivors or bodies among the rubble. One of them yells at the journalists, “What are you filming? There are broken bodies everywhere!”

Nearby, security guards remove the body of a colleague. One of them cries. Another picks up the phone to show a picture of the victim: “Here he is, on his wedding day.”

Among the injured are Syrian and Egyptian members of the crew of vessels that arrived at the port today, including one from Ukraine, which transports wheat to Syria. “Six months ago, we waited for the moment of our return to Syria. We are 13 young people. Seven of us were injured,” says one of the crew. Another mentions a crack in the ship’s hull. “It is sinking, with the explosion there were serious injuries on board.”

In all the capital’s neighborhoods, including the suburb, AFP correspondents observed damage caused by the explosions, which shook the city and caused panic.

In the buildings, residents inspect the damage. Windows shattered, as did shop windows, spreading a carpet of splinters around them. City hospitals are overwhelmed with caring for the wounded.

lets / pitch / TGG / mp / ERL / RSR / lb


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