Around a year after the explosion in the port of Beirut, Lebanon was hit again by a serious detonation with dozens of victims.
At least 22 people were killed when a fuel tank ignited in the north of the country, Health Minister Hamad Hassan told Lebanese broadcaster Al-Jadeed on Sunday.
At least 79 people were injured.
The cause of the accident was initially unclear.
Just over a year ago, more than 190 people were killed and around 6,000 injured in a huge explosion in the port of Beirut. The bereaved even speak of 218 fatalities. Large parts of the port and the adjacent residential areas were destroyed. The detonation is said to have been triggered by large quantities of the highly explosive chemical ammonium nitrate, which were stored unsecured in the port for years. The exact circumstances are still unclear.
The new explosion is part of a series of bad news that hit the country again and again.
Lebanon has been suffering from the worst economic crisis in its history for almost two years.
The government is barely able to act, and large parts of the population have slipped into poverty.
Inflation is around 120 percent.
The Lebanese lira has lost more than 90 percent of its value.
The crisis has led to a massive shortage of supplies, which has worsened in the past few days.
There is a lack of fuel for electricity production and transport.
On Saturday long lines of frustrated drivers formed in front of closed petrol stations, waiting in vain to refuel.
Health Minister: Treat injured people outside of the country
For weeks, people in the country have had to get by without electricity for hours every day.
There is a lack of essential medicines in hospitals and pharmacies.
Health Minister Hassan called for those injured in the explosion to be treated outside the country.
The TV channel MTV showed pictures of people with serious burn injuries.
A reporter for the station reported that there were many people at the site of the explosion who had tried to get fuel.
Lebanese media speculated that the fuel stored there was supposed to have been smuggled into Syria.
The army said there were soldiers among the victims.
The fuel was previously confiscated in order to be distributed.
The mayor of the affected community of Al-Talil told the An-Nahar news site that someone had lit a lighter.
On the other hand, eyewitnesses reported shots to the Al-Jadeed broadcaster.
President Michel Aoun said that this new tragedy is bleeding the hearts of all Lebanese.
Many Lebanese reacted angrily to the explosion, for which they blame the failure of politics and the state.
Lebanon has been politically paralyzed for months. The government resigned shortly after the explosion in the port of Beirut at the beginning of August 2020 and is now only in office. A new cabinet could still not be formed because of a power struggle that lasted for months. Lebanon's political elite is facing serious allegations of corruption and self-enrichment.Keywords: