Death toll in massive explosion at Lebanese capital Beirut mounts to 100; over 4,000 injured
Lebanon, the death toll in the huge explosion in the capital, Beirut has gone up to 100. More than 4,000 people have been injured in the explosion which took place last night.
The explosion sent shockwaves that shattered windows, smashed masonry and shook the ground across the Lebanese capital. Videos show smoke billowing from a fire, then a mushroom cloud following the blast at the city’s port. Hospitals are said to be overwhelmed and many buildings have been destroyed. The blast was heard 240 km away on the island of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean.
An investigation is under way to find the exact trigger for the explosion. Lebanon’s Supreme Defence Council said those responsible will face the maximum punishment possible.
President Michel Aoun said the blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely in a warehouse. President has declared a three-day mourning and said the government will release 66 million dollar as emergency funds.
Indian Embassy in Lebanon is in touch with the Indian community. The Embassy has also shared its helpline numbers with the Indian community.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the people and Government of Lebanon.
The explosion comes at a sensitive time for Lebanon, with an economic crisis reigniting old divisions. Tensions are also high ahead of Friday’s verdict in a trial over the killing of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.