Lebanon’s health ministry says the death toll from the Beirut explosion has risen to at least 78.
Nearly 4,000 people were injured in the massive blasts in Lebanon’s capital city on Tuesday.
About 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate was being stored near the blast site without safety measures, the PM said, calling it “unacceptable.”
Prime Minister Hassan Diab in a televised address vowed that ‘those responsible for this catastrophe will pay the price,’ and declared Wednesday a day of national mourning.
According to the country’s health minister, more than 3,700 have been wounded following the blast at the city’s industrial port, where hazardous chemicals are stored in warehouses.
According to Lebanon’s interior minister, ammonium nitrate had been stored in the unit since 2014.
After looking at the aftermath, experts reportedly agree that the chemical would cause the red plume of smoke which bursts up from the blast.
As per local media reports 2,700 tonnes of the chemical exploded, causing a ‘strange smell’ at the port which has led officials to instruct civilians to leave for fear of any harmful toxins.
The extraordinary footage from the site shows smoke billowing from the harbour area shortly before an enormous fireball explodes into the sky and covers the city in a thick mushroom cloud.
The blast was heard 125 miles away in Cyprus as well, and was initially likened to a ‘nuclear bomb’.
The explosion in #Beirut’s port area is utterly extraordinary — the blast wave is huge.— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) August 4, 2020
Lots of initially small explosions followed by a massive one raises lots of questions – potentially consistent with large scale munitions, but also mass gas storage?pic.twitter.com/sSy456nkSb
The aftermath of the blast is beyond explanation. The Governor of Beruit city Marwan Abboud was left in tears while talking to the media as he explained about the calamity and compared it to Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bomb attacks.
Ironically, the Beirut massive blasts occurred a day ahead of the 75th remembrance of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic attacks.
Beirut's governor: "I have never in my life seen disaster this big, this catastrophic. This a national catastrophe. This a disaster for Lebanon. We don’t know how we’re going to recover from this…We need to stay strong…We need to be courageous," before he breaks into tears. https://t.co/1UcvM1POZc— Rowaida Abdelaziz (@Rowaida_Abdel) August 4, 2020
Beirut governor is literally crying while talking about the explosions, who likens them to Nagasaki and Hiroshima attacks pic.twitter.com/YPHqd1Sq2d— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) August 4, 2020
In the latest development, Syrian President Assad orders all borders and ports in the country open to Lebanon orders caravans of ambulances to head to Beirut and ferry injured to hospitals in Damascus and launches an air bridge of medical and food supplies between the two cities.