Beirut blast: “This is the last thing this country needed”

A massive explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut has left more than 4000 people injured and 100 dead.

The explosion at Beirut’s port on Tuesday night was heard more than 100 miles away in Cyprus, located to the west of the city’s port.

While the cause of the blast is still unknown, Lebanese officials say that the explosion was caused by almost 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate, which had been stored at a warehouse at the capital’s port since 2014.

An investigation is now under way to detect the cause of the explosion.

The blast has caused extensive damage to buildings across the city, leaving 300,000 residents homeless.

In a video posted on her Twitter account, Luna Safwan, an independent journalist in Beirut, said: “The damages in the area and the surrounding area where the explosion happened are humongous.

“People have lost contact with one another. People are without children. I don’t know one person who hasn’t been damaged – physically or in their house – by this explosion.”

She added that Beirut and Lebanon are grieving today.

Footage from The Guardian showed the extent of the damage in aftermath of the explosion.

Jad Breiche, a Beirut resident, told MM: “Between yesterday and early this morning, the country was in a state of complete chaos. Hospitals were filled with people, injured and dead.

“People were being treated by medics on the streets right outside the ER of most hospitals in the capital.

“Lots of homes have been destroyed and people displaced, but lots of people are still missing.” Jad also said that the economic impact of the explosion could be disastrous for Lebanon.

“The most catastrophic issue we Lebanese are expecting, aside from the unfortunate loss of lives of course, is the destruction of our port, which we could call the country’s lungs over the past months. This is a direct hit to the imports, which are estimated to be 70-71% from this port alone.

“The country is already drowning in massive debt, and also already going through an economic crisis, not just because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but because of the revolution which began in October 2019.”

He added: “This is the last thing this country needed.”

The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab showed his support for Lebanon on Twitter last night.

If you would like to help the victims involved in this crisis, you can donate to the Lebanese Red Cross.

Image courtesy of the BBC via iPlayer, with thanks.

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