Livestream video captured the exact moment a priest and his parishioners were forced to duck and dodge falling debris before fleeing for their lives as their church was consumed by the powerful Beirut port explosion.
Debris rained down on the congregation as the powerful blast blew in all of the windows and iron doors of the Paroisse St. Maron Baouchrieh church.
Livestream footage shared online recorded the moment the celebration was struck with a force equivalent to a 3.5-magnitude earthquake, according to Germany’s geosciences center GFZ.
Photos shared by the church congregation show the devastating aftermath of the explosion, which claimed the lives of at least 100 people and injured close to 4,000. It was so powerful, it was reportedly both heard and felt over 200km away in Cyprus.
Search and rescue operations remain underway as emergency services sift through the rubble looking for survivors. President Michel Aoun is expected to declare a two-week state of emergency at a crisis cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
A large cache of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate was reportedly stored at the port for several years, possibly since as early as 2014. At time of writing, it is believed that this was accidentally ignited, causing the devastating blast which led to widespread death and destruction in the city and even carved out vast swathes of land.
Elsewhere, a photo taken by Lebanese photojournalist Bilal Jawich captured the moment a nurse carried three premature infants to safety from the ruins of a partially collapsed hospital ward.
Photo by Lebanese photojournalist Bilal Jawich of a nurse at Beirut Roum hospital maternity ward, cradling 3 newborns and calling for help pic.twitter.com/GWopsPi4Tg
— Kareem Shaheen (@kshaheen) August 4, 2020
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