A huge blast at Beirut port, Lebanon that devastated entire neighbourhoods of the city has killed more than 100 people and injured over 4,000, the Lebanese Red Cross said on Wednesday, August 5.
The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear. Officials linked the blast to some 2,750 tonnes of confiscated ammonium nitrate that were being stored in a warehouse at the port for six years.
Ammonium nitrate is used as a fertiliser in agriculture and as an explosive.
Officials said that an investigation was under way to find the exact trigger which caused the ammonium nitrate to explode.
The initial explosion on Tuesday evening ignited a fire; a second one sent a shockwave across the city, devastating buildings, wounding and killing a large number of residents.
The Red Cross stated;
Until now over 4,000 people have been injured and over 100 have lost their lives. Our teams are still conducting search and rescue operations in the surrounding areas.
Rescue workers in Lebanon are also searching for more than a hundred people who are missing after a huge explosion devastated Beirut.
President Michel Aoun has scheduled an urgent cabinet meeting for Wednesday, and said a two-week state of emergency should be declared.
The country will observe an official period of mourning for three days from Wednesday.
Eyewitness Hadi Nasrallah speaking with BBC said;
I lost my hearing for a few seconds, I knew something was wrong, and then suddenly the glass just shattered all over the car, the cars around us, the shops, the stores, the buildings. Just glass going down from all over the building.
The blast was also felt 240km (150 miles) away on the island of Cyprus, in the eastern Mediterranean, with people there saying they thought it was an earthquake.
Lebanon’s Supreme Defence Council said those found responsible for the explosion would face the ‘maximum punishment’ possible.
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