100 missing in Lebanon: Survivors of disaster describe horrors day after

Tens of thousands slept rough overnight, with windows blown in and glass everywhere. "So many dead, injured, missing, so much destroyed. How can the country fix this and get back on its feet?"

A man inspects the damage following Tuesday's blast in Beirut's port area (photo credit: MOHAMED AZAKIR / REUTERS)
A man inspects the damage following Tuesday's blast in Beirut's port area
(photo credit: MOHAMED AZAKIR / REUTERS)
A father clutches his son as he races back and forth trying to shield the boy from the blast on Tuesday afternoon.
It is one of the many harrowing videos to emerge from the aftermath of the Beirut explosion. With 4,000 injured, 100 dead and more than 100 missing, the scale of the disaster is only becoming known in the morning hours as people leave their homes to survey the destruction.


Tens of thousands slept rough overnight, with windows blown in and glass scattered everywhere. A person’s house recently used as part of a meeting to commemorate the Yazidi genocide is shown with glass scattered across the living room table. A BBC Arabic presenter is shocked by re-watching videos of an interview in which the woman speaking from Beirut is thrown under a table by an explosion, the sound of her cries coming across as the phone sits face-down on a red carpet. 

An Instagram account has been created to locate the missing. By 9 a.m., there were 94 images of people. The notes posted below their images did not indicate if they have been found.
Lawk Ghafuri, a journalist who covers Iraq, writes with devastating news. One of his best friends, Ahmed, has been critically wounded.
Others who took video during the blast appear to be missing or dead. That is the case with at least one whose death was confirmed. The last video shows the smoke and the mushroom-cloud-like explosion that destroyed the city.
More horrid is the video taken in the evening by a man who went down to the port. Along Charles Helou Avenue, where hundreds of cars were driving as the explosion happened in a warehouse a hundred meters away, the destruction is like a war zone.
People walk, dazed, out of the wreckage of their cars. Apartment buildings are shattered. Bel Trew, Middle East correspondent for the Independent, is one of the many reporters based in Beirut. After two hours of sleep, she writes on Twitter that she woke up with gaping holes in her apartment’s walls. “So many dead, injured, missing, so much destroyed. How can the country possibly fix this and get back on its feet?”
More graphic are the scenes from St. Joseph Hospital in Beirut. The hallways are full of injured, and blood stains are splattered everywhere.
Men, many shirtless and bleeding, stand waiting for help. An array of nurses, many from foreign countries who work here, are aiding and assisting. But there are too many wounded.
Hospitals had to turn people away on August 4. Today, with 4,000 injured, it is unclear how they can cope. The hospitals themselves are damaged by the explosion.


SUPPORT FOR Lebanon comes from all over the region. Mustafa Bali, the spokesperson of the Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria, sends his support.  Egypt has lit up the Pyramids for Lebanon, photos show. The photos were apparently photoshopped according to subsequent reports.
 
But many wonder what has happened to their loved ones and places they remember.
Joyce Karam, Washington correspondent for The National, recalls studying in Beirut.
“Beirut is resilient,” she notes. But she wonders what comes next. Across the world in the Philippines, some people are also searching for loved ones.
One man writes that at least two Filipinos have died and six were known to be injured. Beirut is a hub of foreign workers, with many thousands coming as caregivers and to work as domestic servants.
Shocking scenes in recent months have shown abuse and harm done to many women from Ethiopia and other African countries.
Kenya had just sent officials to its Beirut consulate to investigate abuse of female Kenyan workers by their local honorary consul, who is accused of charging them exorbitant fees and harming them. These are just the tip of the iceberg of thousands of such women who are subject to abuse in Lebanon, many who now live in the shadows of a broken economy.
Who will find them and tell their stories amid the rubble? Who will report them missing? Poor countries that don’t even have a consular representative now have a new challenge: Besides trying to shelter women abused by employers, they must try to aid their injured citizens in a far-off land.
“We’re staying. We are still alive. It’s not just me, everyone is having their share of this tragedy,” one young Lebanese man says to a journalist from Sky News. “We don’t know what is happening, we don’t know if the explosion was done on purpose or is an accident.”
The man shows how his business has been damaged. But he seems okay. Nevertheless, like many, he wonders if the story of the “accidental” destruction of 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate is the real culprit.
“I think it’s a bomb.”