Beirut blast: over 78 dead and thousands injured in Lebanon

ES
Ernest Sunday

The most terrifying blast ever took place in the Lebanese capital Beirut yesterday August 4, 2020, killing over 78 people and injured over 4000, according to the Lebanese health minister.

The cause of the blast was reported to be a highly explosive material stored in a warehouse for over six years.

The Lebanon President Michel Aoun blaming the owners of the explosive with a tweet said it is "unacceptable" that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored unsafely.

Lebanon's Supreme Defence Council revealed that investigations are already going on to understand the cause of the explosion and those responsible for the horrifying act will face "maximum punishment."

Many buildings were destroyed and many injured, some did not survive the blast, 70 are reported dead and more than 4000 wounded.

Buildings and cars destroyed in the Lebanon blast

The hospitals in Lebanon are currently filled with injured patients.

The President has declared a mourning period of three days for the victims. He also said that the government would bring out 100 billion lira ($66m) for emergency funds to handle the situation.

Lebanon Prime Minister Hassan Diab labelled the incident as a catastrophe and with anger said that those responsible for it would be taken into custody.

Video footage showed people from different angles in Beirut when the explosion happened with some crying.

Video showing different angle of the Lebanon blast

"All the buildings around here have collapsed. I'm walking through glass and debris everywhere, in the dark," a witness told AFP news agency.

"I saw the fire, but I didn't yet know there was going to be an explosion. We went inside. Suddenly I lost my hearing because apparently, I was too close.

"I lost my hearing for a few seconds, I knew something was wrong, " an eyewitness Hadi Nasrallah told the BBC.

"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.

"Literally all over Beirut, people were calling each other from different areas kilometres away, and they were experiencing the same thing: broken glass, buildings shaking, a loud explosion.

"Actually, we were shocked because usually when it happens, just one area will experience those happenings after an explosion, but this time it was all of Beirut, even areas outside of Beirut.

People stranded outside in the Beirut city of Lebanon

According to BBC Sunniva Rose, a journalist, said,"Driving into Beirut early evening when it was still light, it was absolute chaos. The streets were literally covered in glass. It's hard for ambulances to go through - there's bricks, cement slabs. Houses have collapsed.

"When I got to the port, it had been closed off by the army. The army said to stay away in case there was a second explosion.

"There was still smoke going up into the sky late into the evening. The whole city was black. It was very hard to walk around; people were covered in blood.

"I saw an 86-year-old woman being treated by a doctor who had just run out of his home with a first aid kit. Rocks entirely smashed cars. These old-style houses with big cuts of rock had just fallen on the street.

"It's pandemonium in my own flat; all the glass is shattered. The extent of the damage is extreme. Even in a mall 2km away - the whole facade was shattered."

Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab has called on international countries for help saying: "I make an urgent appeal to friendly and brotherly countries... to stand by Lebanon and to help us heal our deep wounds."

Some countries have reacted to the minister's call for help with France, saying it is sending aids and resources to the country.

Iran Foreign Minister also tweeted that his country would "render assistance in any way necessary."

United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson took to his twitter to pledge UK's support to Lebanon.

"The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking. All of my thoughts and prayers are with those caught up in this terrible incident, " he tweeted.

"The UK is ready to provide support in any way we can, including to those British nationals affected."

The United States, through its President Donald Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, sent their sympathies to the country. Trump called the incident "a terrible attack".

Pompeo said, "We are monitoring and stand ready to assist the people of Lebanon as they recover from this horrible tragedy."

German Foreign Minister Heiko Josef Maas also sympathised with the country saying, "We cannot for the moment exclude German nationals figuring among the dead and wounded."

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