Hundreds have been killed and thousands injured as two huge explosions rocked the port area in Beirut yesterday evening creating chaos across the city.
Lebanon’s prime minister Michel Aoun has called for a day of mourning and declared a two-week state of emergency.
Hospitals, already under pressure due to the pandemic, struggled to cope with the demand through the night. And the Lebanese Red Cross put out urgent calls for people in the region to donate blood.
The first blast was the smaller of the two explosions and is thought to have been caused by an explosion in a warehouse storing fireworks and took place just after 6 pm local time.
A second, much larger mushroom cloud explosion then took place a few minutes later which literally shook Beirut. The huge blast was even felt 125 miles away in Cyprus. The blast collapsed ceilings and shattered windows several miles from the impact.
Smoke was still pouring from the port in downtown Beirut this morning.
The second blast is said to have been caused by a large amount of ammonium nitrate being stored in a warehouse.
What is ammonium nitrate?
Ammonium nitrate is commonly used as a fertiliser in agriculture and as an explosive. In total, 2,700 tonnes were stored at the port.
The ammonium nitrate was reportedly left unsecured for 6 years in a warehouse after it was confiscated by the authorities.
The Governor of Beirut yesterday compared the explosion to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone effected by the blasts.