Tuesday’s massive explosion in Beirut tore through thousands of homes, blowing off doors and windows, toppling cupboards, and sending books, shelves, lamps and everything else flying.
Dozens of people were trapped under the wreckage, and survivors could not believe they managed to stay alive.
Within seconds, more than a quarter of a million of the Lebanese capital’s residents were left with homes unfit to live in.
Estimates say 6,200 buildings were damaged.
After the first explosion, Mona al-Shami and her sister hid under a table in their apartment in Qarantina, near the explosions at Beirut port.
Then came the second explosion.
“Everything flew, everything exploded,” al-Shami said. The sisters were briefly knocked unconscious before waking up to an apocalyptic scene.
“Thank God we are alive, but everything’s gone, our home, car, everything,” she said, bursting into tears as she stood in the middle of a bedroom littered with debris.
Said al-Assaad, 24, stands amid the destruction in his family home, a ground-floor traditional house in the historic district of Mar Mikhail facing the port.
He was in the mountains when the explosion happened. His family survived. But the neighbourhood, buildings, shops, restaurants and balconies are all destroyed.
“Destruction like you never saw and will never see in your life. I never expected to see something like this, not even in a video game,” he said.
“It is beyond words, something that cannot be described.”