Beirut blast toll tops 100, 4,000 injured | Daily News


Beirut blast toll tops 100, 4,000 injured

LEBANON: Rescuers searched for survivors Wednesday after a cataclysmic explosion at Beirut port sowed devastation across entire city neighbourhoods, killing more than 100 people, wounding thousands and plunging Lebanon deeper into crisis.

The blast, which appeared to have been caused by a fire igniting 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate left unsecured in a warehouse, was felt as far away as the island of Cyprus, some 150 miles (240 kilometres) away.

The Red Cross said on Wednesday morning that more than 100 deaths had been confirmed. It also reported around 4,000 injured, prompting fears that the death toll could rise significantly. In a country where smallholders have been unable to withdraw even limited amounts of cash from banks since the start of the year, there was little hope of compensation for those whose property was destroyed.

Beirut’s Governor Marwan Abboud spoke of “an apocalyptic situation” he said may have made 300,000 people temporarily homeless and would cost the country over $3 billion.

The blast left the Lebanese capital resembling the scene of an earthquake, with thousands of people left destitute and thousands more cramming into overwhelmed hospitals for treatment.

The resulting footage, widely shared on social media, shows a ball of fire and smoke rising above Beirut and a white shockwave engulfing everything around it.

The mushroom-shaped explosion - which seismologists said was logged as the equivalent of a 3.3 magnitude quake -- and the scope of the damage drew nuclear analogies in many people’s accounts of the tragedy.
- AFP 

 Two Lankans injured

The Sri Lankan Embassy in Lebanon said that according to the latest reports, two Sri Lankans have been injured in the massive blast in Beirut on Tuesday, while the Embassy building also suffered minor damage.

The Sri Lankan Mission is awaiting further information in this regard from the Ministry of Public Health in Lebanon, a statement from the embassy said.

Their condition was not immediately known and further developments on the incident will be conveyed upon confirmation, it added.

Investigators believe that the massive explosion which killed over 100 was caused by a stockpile of Ammonium Nitrate stored at a warehouse in the Beirut Port.

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