The night after the great explosion of Beirut, an old, white-blonde lady sits on the just picturesque stairs of the district of Mar Mikhael and looks at what is left of her life. The broken doors lie in the entrance of their house, a massive villa that may be a hundred years old.
How is she doing? - "My husband is injured, he's in the hospital. He had open-heart surgery two months ago. And look, my housemaid!" from their own blood. Then the grown-up son comes over the remains of the door: "Come in and see for yourself!"
He points to the bloody fingerprints on the wallpaper in the hallway - "from my father!" Then illuminates the living room with his cell phone lamp from right to left and from bottom to top under the high stucco ceiling. Total destruction in the formerly good room. Nothing has remained intact here.
Then the three descend the stairs to leave their home indefinitely. Maybe forever. The balcony, including the once beautifully curved wrought-iron balustrade, plunged into the street in front of the house, no longer recognizable on a car, model or brand.
Above all broken glass, everywhere
Beirut Tuesday night, in the hours after the huge detonation in the harbor, is reminiscent of the pictures of New York's Ground Zero. Debris, bricks, dust and broken glass, especially broken glass, everywhere.
Flashing blue and red lights in the dark. Even individual headlights, where search teams are better equipped. The soundtrack: the clearing of alarm systems and sirens. Screams. And whimpering under debris. Many bloody, limping and tripping people on the streets. Devastation block by block, quarter by quarter. It acts like the apocalypse.
First of all, a heavily smoking fire broke out in the harbor, which is right next to the eastern city center. About half an hour later, eyewitnesses reported, then the actual inferno, when a huge explosion sent a destructive blast of pressure - still felt in Cyprus, 200 kilometers away - through the city. After that, thick orange-black smoke was miles above the city. Biting vapors roamed the destroyed streets.
Early Wednesday morning, the Lebanese authorities reported at least 73 deaths and 3,700 injuries. According to the government, 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate could have exploded. A political attack was previously ruled out. Israeli authorities also clearly stated that they were not responsible.
A spokesman for Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the material that can also be used to manufacture explosives has been stored in the port for six years without precautions. Those responsible should be "held accountable". President Michel Aoun said on Twitter that this type of storage was "unacceptable".
Victim of failure of government leaders
Such charges cannot hide the fact that the Lebanese have once again been victims of the failure of their own governments and institutions.
After extensive forest fires in many parts of the country remained almost unchecked last October and the cabinet wanted to introduce new taxes at the same time to save the state budget, a mass uprising broke out.
The political class simply sat out this so-called revolution, in the spring it came to pass Corona. But recently the collapse of the financial system built on lush interest rates, huge debts and accounting tricks has accelerated. With that came hyperinflation. Many Lebanese lost much of their wealth within weeks.
The government and parliament continue to block, especially the reforms that were mentioned as a condition for a vital aid package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The parties insist on their benefices, the people should bleed.
The Lebanese suffered badly - even before Tuesday evening. More and more people in the country, not just among the approximately 1.5 million Syrian refugees, are starving. The situation could be exacerbated by the fact that large parts of the country's wheat stocks were destroyed in the port explosion.
The health system was also facing the collapse not only because of the sharp rise in corona numbers. It is difficult to imagine how the hospitals can now cope with the many, sometimes seriously injured, people.
Help from abroad is urgently needed
What is certain is that help from abroad is necessary. Even Israel pledged support. It seems more realistic, however, that France will join the formerly closely-linked former mandate country. Chancellor Angela Merkel also announced willingness to help. Deputy government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer tweeted: "We will offer our support to Lebanon."
Above all, the Lebanese will have to help themselves again. Like Jade, a 28-year-old man who, after the detonation, drove down from his apartment in Aschrafiyye to Mar Mikhael to find his buddy. "I found him in the stairwell of his house, passed out and badly injured. We finally took him away with a van. Only in the third hospital was he admitted. I don't know how he is now," he says.
Long after midnight, Jade and his girlfriend Pia are still looking for their friend's French Bulldog between the rubble, while the fire continues to blaze in the harbor in sight. Pia doesn't want to answer any further questions: "Because my country was blown up today."