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Beirut’s bloody paths

BEIRUT, LEBANON – AUGUST 06: Search and rescue works are carried out at damaged buildings after a fire at a warehouse with explosives at the Port of Beirut led to massive blasts in Beirut, Lebanon on August 6, 2020. (Photo by Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

One thing the victims of the August explosion in Beirut all said in recounting their stories: They could tell where to go by following the trails of blood. As evening fell in the hour after the blast, they struggled to leave buildings blocked by debris and broken glass, only to make it to streets filled with rubble and pancaked cars. 

Wilma Saloum, one of those I profiled, said only motorcycles could make it through the blast zone that night. She and her friend George, like many I spoke to, followed other injured to one, two, three hospitals before finding care. Some of the injured I contacted did not want their stories published or their photos taken. Glass shrapnel isn’t pretty. One woman I hoped to visit had 68 stitches, another 250.

I arrived in Beirut four days after that dark night and spent 48 hours in a quarantine hotel awaiting results of a COVID-19 test, my second of the trip. By the time I could walk the devastated streets, most international journalists had gone home. The story of what’s being called one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history faded from headlines in the face of lesser news.

Read more at World Magazine.

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