Massive Lebanon blast: More than 70 dead, thousands injured in Beirut

New Delhi (NVI): A large blast in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, which took place last night, has killed at least 70 and injured more than 4,000 people, sending shockwaves that shattered windows, smashed masonry and shook the ground across the country’s capital.

Videos shared by the people living in the nearby areas, show smoke billowing from a fire, then a mushroom cloud following the blast at the city’s port.

The blasts at the port – most powerful explosion in years in Beirut – were heard throughout the small country and as far away as Nicosia on the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, 240 kilometres (150 miles) away, according to media reports.

Officials are blaming highly explosive materials stored in a warehouse for six years.

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun tweeted it was “unacceptable” that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was stored unsafely.

The city, which has also been witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases, was declared a disaster zone after the President called an urgent meeting.

Hospitals are said to be overwhelmed and many buildings have been destroyed.

President Aoun has declared a three-day mourning period, and said the government would release 100 billion lira (USD 66 million) of emergency funds.

In addition to this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi this morning said he was “shocked and saddened” by massive explosions in Beirut, Lebanon.

“Shocked and saddened by the large explosion in Beirut city leading to loss of life and property. Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families and the injured (sic),” his office quoted him as saying in a tweet.

-CHK