“A huge explosion and the clink of glass shards everywhere. I was expecting something to fall on me.” Noor Lekkerkerker from The Hague was in her house outside the city center at the time of the enormous explosion in the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut. “I immediately thought of war, of a bomb or a missile.”
“I walked out because I didn’t want to sit alone in the building, but hide with others,” says Lekkerkerker, who has lived and worked in Beirut for six years. Outside people were screaming and yelling. But no one could tell her what was going on. Everyone walked around dazed, according to Lekkerkerker.
The explosion, which killed at least dozens of people and wreaked havoc, took place in the port area of Beirut. But the explosion caused by ammonium nitrate was also felt far beyond. “Everyone is totally in shock. They are really used to something in Lebanon, but this is of such enormity,” said correspondent Daisy Mohr.
“I saw people taking off their T-shirts to cover a wound. And everywhere I saw bloody faces and arms.” People are very emotional, according to Mohr. There is a lot of uncertainty and confusion. Those who try to reach the overcrowded hospitals drive across a sea of broken glass.