In the Lebanese capital Beirut, a major explosion occurred in the harbor near the historic center at the end of the afternoon. At least 25 people were killed and more than 2,500 people were injured. Among the injured are five employees of the Dutch embassy.

The cause of the explosion is not yet known. It may have taken place in a storage room with explosive material. In this live blog we will keep you informed of the latest developments.

Dozens killed and more than 2,500 injured
The enormous explosion on Tuesday in the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut killed at least 25 people and injured more than 2,500 people. That said the Lebanese health minister in an interview with a Lebanese television station on Tuesday evening.

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For the time being, dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries have been reported.
Various stories are circulating about the exact number of deaths and injuries. The health minister of Lebanon first mentioned more than 30 deaths, but later spoke of more than 25, according to Reuters news  agency . He also mentioned over 2500 injuries. The Red Cross appeared to report more deaths, but fewer injuries, earlier this evening.

So shortly after a disaster, little can usually be said about exact numbers of victims, because many injured people are still transported to hospitals and because victims who are in a bad condition can still die. 

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The explosion also said that more than 2,200 were injured, the Red Cross said. This number is expected to increase as many people are expected to remain trapped in their homes or under the rubble.

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EMSC: Feel the explosion in Cyprus
The European seismological center EMSC writes on Twitter that they have received reports of people who felt the explosion in Cyprus. That country is more than 240 kilometers from Beirut.

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Foreign Affairs: Five employees of the Dutch embassy injured, one seriously injured
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that five employees of the Dutch embassy have been injured, one of whom is in bad shape. A spokesperson confirms this to NU.nl after reports in the  AD .

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The Lebanese Red Cross reports that at least 70 people were killed in the explosion. This has not yet been officially confirmed by the Lebanese authorities. Ambulances are en route to Beirut from all over the country. France and the United States have offered their help.

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The explosion and the resulting shock wave have wreaked havoc. (Photo: Reuters)

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All army units have been called up for patrol in the affected neighborhoods of the city. All citizens are called upon to provide first aid and shelter for affected families.

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Prime Minister Hassan Diab has declared a national day of mourning for tomorrow, the Lebanese news agency NNA writes .

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Explosion new setback for politically troubled Lebanon
Although nothing is known yet about the cause of the explosion and whether there is any intention, it is a major setback for Lebanon, which has long been plagued by political and economic problems. Moreover, this situation has worsened in recent months due to the corona virus.

Since October last year, the value of the national currency, the Lebanese pound, has depreciated by over 70 percent. Unemployment has increased in the country, which has a vast young demographic, and food prices have risen. A government plan to monetize social media video calling has sparked massive anger and popular protests.

In June of this year, thousands of Lebanese again demonstrated against government policies. In Tripoli, the second largest city in the country, a bank office with petrol bombs was set on fire, among other things. Due to the poor state and corruption in the country, Prime Minister Saad Al Hariri had to resign on October 29 last year. After stepping down, the country was left without government for months. It was not until January of this year that Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab formed a new government, in accordance with the Shiite movement Hezbollah and its allies.

More than 6.8 million inhabitants live in Lebanon, of which about 2 million in Beirut. The country played a major role in receiving refugees from neighboring Syria. It is estimated that the country has some 1.5 million Syrian refugees, which put a lot of pressure on the local population and also led to many tensions.

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The Red Cross reports that hundreds of injured people have already been taken to hospital for treatment. There are also many injured people under the rubble.

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There are reports of a blast in #Beirut. Are you in Beirut? Follow the instructions of local authorities and let loved ones know how you're doing. Need help? Then call +31 247 247 247 or send a message to @ 247BZ.

AvatarAvatar Author 24/7 BZMoment of places19: 12 - 4 August 2020

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The Lebanese Red Cross has received thousands of emergency calls.

AvatarAvatar Author Lebanese Red Cross Time of places 18: 50 - 4 August 2020

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The location of the explosion. (source: LocalFocus) 

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According to sources within the security services, based on information from the hospitals, at least ten people have died.

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Two local security sources tell the Lebanese state news agency  NNA  that the blast occurred in explosive warehouses.

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Big fireball and shock wave in explosion in Beirut

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Emergency services have been massively pulled out. (Photo: Reuters)

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The authorities said there have been countless injuries. The Red Cross has been called in to assist and tries to transport all injured people to hospitals. Military personnel have also been called in to help steer traffic in the right direction, so that the ambulances can pass through.

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Eyewitnesses reported that entire buildings have been wiped out in the harbor and that there is a lot of damage to buildings further in the city.

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The explosion occurred around 6:00 p.m. local time. It is an hour later in Lebanon than in the Netherlands. The quake was felt in large parts of the city. Soon, many images were shared on social media of the explosion and the huge clouds of smoke.

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