‘We’re cursed’: shock and despair in Beirut as explosion devastates city

Lebanese capital in state of chaos as people grapple with scale of blast that has injured thousands

As a ghostly brown haze began to clear, the streets of east Beirut emerged in apocalyptic ruin. Even 4km from the centre of the blast each building had lost some, if not all, of its windows. It was just after 6pm. Smoke, dispersed with pockets of pink gas, shrouded some of the carnage. Huge shards of glass covered roads – some jagged pieces had ripped through cars. Trees were shredded, and pools of blood formed puddles in the streets.

Related: Beirut explosion: dead and wounded among ‘hundreds of casualties’, says Lebanon Red Cross – live updates

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