It used to be known as the Paris of the Middle East – a cosmopolitan city rich in culture, with bustling pavement cafes and a teeming nightlife.
But rampant corruption, devastating civil war and an escalating financial crisis had all but brought Beirut to its knees. The last thing Lebanon’s capital needed was a catastrophe that would rip the heart out of the city – yet that’s exactly what happened.
An explosion of such epic proportions that it resembled a nuclear bomb tore through the harbour area of the city, leaving a gaping hole where buildings once stood. It killed more than 220 people, injured more than 6 000 and left devastation and growing fury in its wake.