Two massive explosions have rocked Beirut, Lebanon capital, killing at least 78 people, injuring thousands more, and sending an enormous blast wave across the city that shattered windows, knocked down doors and shook buildings.
Lebanon’s prime minister, Hassan Diab, said the main blast at Beirut’s port was caused when an estimated 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate had been ignited.
He said the chemical had been left unsecured for six years in a warehouse, and vowed to punish those responsible.
As the death toll climbed on the discovery of more bodies in the wreckage, at least 4,000 were reported injured.
Hundreds of homes were left uninhabitable by the blast which also destroyed huge grain silos, a devastating blow to a country where bread was already scarce and which is dependent on imports by sea.
The US Embassy in Beirut released a statement advising that people wear masks and stay indoors, following “reports of toxic gases released in the explosion”.
The American University of Aerosol Research Lab’s indicators showed that air quality levels had returned to “Good” by 7pm on Tuesday, however, after showing “Moderate” levels of particulate matter an hour earlier.
Thousands of people sought treatment in nearby hospitals, which were struggling to cope with the casualties. Cars were left strewn across the surrounding highway, and the blast was heard up to 80km (50 miles) away in the country’s north.
The health minister, Hamad Hassan, put the confirmed death toll at 78, with at least 4,000 injured.
“There are many people missing until now. People are asking the emergency department about their loved ones and it is difficult to search at night because there is no electricity. We are facing a real catastrophe and need time to assess the extent of damages,” Hassan told Reuters.
On Tuesday night Lebanon’s Supreme Defence Council recommended declaring Beirut a disaster-stricken city, declaring a two-week state of emergency in the capital and handing over security responsibility to military authorities.
Below are some of the photos and videos from the scene circulating the social media.
Some pictures from inside Beirut's mangled port today. pic.twitter.com/ccf3drv3QX
— Timour Azhari (@timourazhari) August 4, 2020
blasts leave #Beirut port in ruins Two major explosions rocked Lebanon’s capital, killing at least 50 and injuring some 2,700 people. The blasts were so intense they reduced nearby buildings to rubble and blew out windows more than 10 kilometers away.#Pray pic.twitter.com/nwOMvx7P76
— आलसी पत्रकार (@Rajesh__Jamaal) August 5, 2020
Can't believe that in the middle of this pandemic ,people in Lebanon is now facing another disaster. Sending prayers and deepest condolences to our dear Lebanese brothers and sisters. May God always guide you. Godbless you all 😣😣#Beirut pic.twitter.com/4Kkgrs0SIJ
— Prashant (@Prashant007___) August 5, 2020
— apdifatah ahmet nour (@abdifatah_nour) August 5, 2020
Please take a minute or two to pray for our brothers & sisters at Beirut, Lebanon. There has been a massive explosion & the blast leave dozens dead & thousands injured.
— Green (@greenaugustus44) August 5, 2020
The Beirut explosion was equivalent to about 240 tons of TNT, roughly 10 times as great as the US military's (MOAB) is capable of unleashing.The blast produced seismic wave equal to a magnitude 3.3 earthquake.
Pray for our brothers and sisters in Beirut, Lebanon pic.twitter.com/58gySrm8QP
— Volqx Assistant ➐ (@volqx__) August 5, 2020
— Goku (@xxxxxedy) August 5, 2020
This is a video that I received from another angle – the person who shot it is OK.
Remember; many people usually jog/walk on the Beirut waterfront (close to the explosion).
— Luna Safwan – لونا صفوان (@LunaSafwan) August 4, 2020
The Beirut explosion impact shattered this drive's windows from far away. pic.twitter.com/K9C4d8tn8d
— A Black Socialist 🌹🏴☠️ (@SonOfAssata) August 5, 2020
I still can't believe what happened to #Beirut today. My people don't deserve this.
Hoping to wake up from this nightmare, but the Israeli drone flying above my area insist on reminding me about the bitter truth.
Life is short, embrace your beloved ones.#Lebanon pic.twitter.com/Unq4eeGPR1
— SHIVAM GUPTA (@Mr_shivam_01) August 5, 2020
Everyone praying for Beriut 😭🙏
— ITZKPRANK (@ITZKPRANK) August 5, 2020
— 𝑲𝑰𝑵𝑮 𝑭𝑨𝑹𝑻𝑶𝑴™ 👑 (@KFartom) August 4, 2020
— 🇨🇳Juventina® (@CNJuve) August 5, 2020
— Haya Noor PTI (@ImHaya__Noor) August 5, 2020
BREAKING: Massive explosion in Beirut. Footage from the daily star office now in Lebanon pic.twitter.com/2uBsKP5wCH
— Ghada Alsharif (@GhadaaSharif) August 4, 2020
Beirut explosion aftermath… pic.twitter.com/5FKBkzv6Uz
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) August 5, 2020
Hospitals are full in Beirut. This is one of many. pic.twitter.com/OFE40nghyP
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) August 5, 2020
KanyiDaily had also reported how over 137 people were killed and hundreds more injured when explosions rocked three churches and two hotels in Sri Lanka on Sunday morning as Christians celebrated Easter.