Beirut destruction ‘worst I have ever seen,’ says US official

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A senior US official said Thursday that the level of destruction in Beirut resulting from the Aug. 4 explosions was the “worst I have ever seen.”

“As a human who has been to many disasters from [Sept. 11 attacks] to hurricanes, I have personally never seen destruction on this level,” United States Agency for International Development head John Barsa said after his visit to Lebanon.

Barsa, the acting USAID Administrator, told reporters in a phone briefing that the explosions were “entirely preventable and this is what frustrates me the most.”

“This is the worst in terms of extent,” he added.

The explosions have left 2,500 homes inhabitable and damaged more than a dozen hospitals and medical centers, according to Barsa. Officials have estimated that 300,000 were left homeless by the blast.

Asked by Al Arabiya English if there was a new US approach toward dealing with the people of Lebanon directly and not the government, which has been deemed corrupt by local residents, Barsa said USAID “generally speaking” works through NGOs and not with governments.

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