Lebanon in mourning after deadly blast

Lebanon in mourning after deadly blast

Lebanon in mourning after deadly blast

Lebanon is in mourning this morning after a huge explosion in the capital Beirut killed at least 100 people and injured more than 4,000 others.

The whole city was shaken by the blast, which happened yesterday (Tuesday) shortly after 6pm local time and began with a fire at the port which exploded into a mushroom cloud.

President Michel Aoun said 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate had been stored unsafely in a warehouse for six years.

Officials said that an investigation was under way to find the exact trigger for the explosion and the President said those responsible would “pay the price”.

He scheduled an urgent cabinet meeting for today, and said a two-week state of emergency should be declared.

The country will observe an official period of mourning for three days from today.

“What we are witnessing is a huge catastrophe,” the head of Lebanon’s Red Cross George Kettaneh told a local broadcaster. “There are victims and casualties everywhere.”

Soldiers were at the site clearing rubble and helicopters were passing over dropping water to put out the smouldering remains.

Hospitals were still overrun with wounded people and others searching for loved ones, with pages springing up online listing pictures of the missing and begging for information of their whereabouts.

With Covid-19 infections on the rise, hospitals were already struggling to cope and now they are faced with thousands of injuries and expecting thousands more.

Hundreds are now displaced, their homes destroyed.

Video footage appeared to show two blasts. The first plume of smoke was then suddenly consumed by a massive fireball and white cloud, sending a shockwave scudding across the city.

The blast caused a shockwave across Beirut that was heard as far away as Cyprus.

Chris Rampling, the British ambassador to Lebanon, has tweeted this morning that the UK government is “urgently” looking at how to support the Middle Eastern country.

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