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Death Toll Reaches 100 After Huge Port Explosion In Beirut Shatters Buildings

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 05 Aug 2020 08:01
Death Toll Reaches 100 After Huge Port Explosion In Beirut Shatters BuildingsDeath Toll Reaches 100 After Huge Port Explosion In Beirut Shatters BuildingsAbirGhattas/Twitter/PA

The death toll has risen to at least 100, with thousands more injured, after an explosion tore through the port in Beirut, Lebanon, last night, August 4.

More than 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, the ingredient used in fertiliser bombs, was detonated in what’s believed to have been a firecracker warehouse, after a fire was sparked by a welder.

Horrifying footage showed thick smoke billowing out of the building and engulfing the streets as emergency services desperately tried to find survivors in the devastation.

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You can see some clips from the explosion here:

Hospitals that had themselves been damaged struggled to cope with the strain of more than 4,000 casualties, with rescuers working all through the night and into this morning in a bid to find those who may be trapped.

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Lebanon is already experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades, and now it must deal with the devastation caused by the catastrophic explosion, which could be heard 125 miles away in Cyprus.

The head of Lebanon’s Red Cross said in a statement: ‘What we are witnessing is a huge catastrophe. There are victims and casualties everywhere.’

Death Toll Reaches 100 After Huge Explosion In Beirut Shatters BuildingsDeath Toll Reaches 100 After Huge Explosion In Beirut Shatters BuildingsPA Images

Meanwhile, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab has said those responsible will ‘pay the price’, before declaring the country in a two-week state of emergency.

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So far, the UK, the United States, France, the Gulf states and even rivals Israel, have offered aid to the country.

People in Beirut are being urged to stay indoors if they can, over fears of toxic gas being released by the blast.

Death Toll Reaches 100 After Huge Explosion In Beirut Shatters BuildingsDeath Toll Reaches 100 After Huge Explosion In Beirut Shatters BuildingsPA Images

Zain Ja’far, Sky News’ Middle East editor who was also in the city at the time of the blast, said the ‘huge explosion’ made the windows ‘cave in… it tore apart the facade of the building we’re in, and once the dust settled we managed to get ourselves and others in this block outside’.

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Firefighters were already present at the factory, dealing with an initial fire, when it detonated the ammonium nitrate, causing a huge and devastating explosion.

An Israeli bomb expert has suggested fireworks could have been involved in the initial blaze, explaining that ‘you can see sparks, you can hear sounds like popcorn and whistles’, telling MailOnline: ‘This is very specific behaviour of fireworks.’

Death Toll Reaches 100 After Huge Explosion In Beirut Shatters BuildingsDeath Toll Reaches 100 After Huge Explosion In Beirut Shatters BuildingsPA Images

The second explosion left behind complete and utter carnage, reducing buildings to piles of rubble on the ground.

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Our thoughts are with all those affected by this terrible tragedy.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.

Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: News, Beirut, Death Toll, Explosion, Lebanon, Now

Credits

Daily Mail
  1. Daily Mail

    At least 100 people are killed and thousands hurt as 'welder' at Beirut port sparks fire near warehouse where 2,700 TONS of highly explosive chemical 'seized from a ship' were being stored detonating blast the size of a small nuclear bomb