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Beirut explosion: Before and after images

The explosion at a portside warehouse in Beirut sent devastating shockwaves across the Lebanese capital, decimating seafront buildings and causing widespread destruction.

At least 137 people died and about 5,000 others have been injured. Satellite and aerial images show the extent of the physical damage to a city more accustomed to such scenes as a result of war than accident.

Interactive See how warehouses in Beirut's port area were devastated by blast

5 August 2020

9 June 2020

Satellite image of Beirut port area on 9 June 2020

The Orient Queen cruise ship was docked in Beirut a few hundred metres from the warehouse when the explosion happened.

Damage from the blast caused her to take on water and capsize. One crew member died and another is still missing, according to the ship's operators Abou Merhi Cruises. The company's dockside offices were also wiped out by the force of the blast.

The grain silos – the large white building on the dockside – took the brunt of the blast.

Genevieve Langdon, Professor of Blast and Impact Engineering at the University of Sheffield, said the grain inside the silo would have compacted under the enormous blast pressure, but would also have absorbed and deflected some of the blast.

"As the blast wave struck the silo wall, it probably dissipated a great deal of energy," she said. "Without the grain silos in the way, we expect the damage in the area behind them would have been even worse."

Aid agencies estimate that around 300,000 people have been left homeless by the explosion and there are fears of food and medicine shortages.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) president Mego Terzian said warehouses storing medicines and vaccines in the port were damaged, and the country's largest dialysis centre, in central Beirut, was completely destroyed.

He compared the aftermath of the blast to destruction caused during the country's 1975-90 civil war.

"We lived difficult and similar experiences during the Lebanese war," he told AFP.

Interactive See how the blast ripped apart portside warehouses

5 August 2020

Warehouses at Beirut port after blast, 5 August

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