Before and after satellite images show devastation of Beirut explosion

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Before and after satellite images show the level of devastation from the massive blast at a Beirut port that killed at least 135 and left as many as 300,000 homeless on Tuesday.

The explosion literally changed the landscape of Lebanon’s capital city, leveling or severely damaging buildings, sinking several ships and toppling others, and wiping out large swaths of Beirut’s waterfront.

The photos show a bustling port before the explosion, with cargo ships lined up along docks near several warehouses and buildings, and trucks and cars parked throughout as a throng of people are seen entering the area.

All but two of the cargo ships remain in the aftermath of the blast, which turned warehouses into rubble and left an enormous crater where two port buildings once stood — including a warehouse that stored the 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate believed to have ignited the explosion.

Only several grain silos in the middle of the dock remain standing, but barely so. Officials say the country now has less than a month’s worth of grain due to the losses.

Surrounding structures were not spared: A building on a peninsula east of the blast site was also leveled, with a boat docked there knocked on its side, and several buildings along the waterfront severely damaged, the photos show.

Beirut explosion
AP

“There is no word to describe the horror of the catastrophe that occurred in Beirut yesterday,” Lebanese President Michel Aoun said during an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday, NBC News reported.

“I extend my heart and feelings to the families,” he said, “and I ask God to heal the wounded, heal the broken hearts, and provide us with all the energy and determination to stand together to confront the painful burns that have scarred the face of Beirut.”

Officials on Wednesday compared the explosion to the atomic blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended World War II.

They said the shipment of ammonium nitrate, a potentially volatile fertilizer, had been stored on the dock since 2014 when it was seized from a Russian businessman who had abandoned the cargo.

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