The Lebanese Supreme Defense Council declared Beirut a disaster city after a big explosion that rocked the city and left dozens dead and wounded, amid a high security alert and orders to investigate to uncover the circumstances of the accident.
He called the Supreme Defense Council to allocate funds for hospitals to treat the wounded and pay compensation to the families of the victims, while the Prime Minister announced national mourning and the closure of institutions for a period of 3 days.
According to the Lebanese Ministry of Health, the explosion resulted in warehouses in the Beirut port area, with an initial death toll of 73 dead and 3,700 wounded.
For his part, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that a state of emergency should be declared in Beirut for a period of two weeks, and called for an extraordinary session of the Council of Ministers tomorrow, Wednesday.
Aoun said in statements published by the presidential account on Twitter that it was "unacceptable" that a shipment of ammonium nitrate estimated at 2750 tons had been present for six years in a warehouse without preventive measures, and vowed to "impose the most severe penalties" on those responsible.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab also said that those responsible for the explosion would pay the price, and pledged in a televised speech that the catastrophe would not pass without reckoning.
He added that the facts regarding this dangerous warehouse, which had been there since 2014, would be revealed, adding that he would not anticipate the investigations.
The explosion damaged a ship of the United Nations forces operating in Lebanon and wounded a number of the members of these forces, according to the statement of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
"As a result of the huge explosion that rocked Beirut this evening, a ship damaged by the naval force of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon that was docked at the port, which resulted in the injury of a number of peacekeepers, and some of them were seriously injured," the statement said.
Thousands of injuries
The official media agency reported that the explosion resulted in "countless injuries" and that Red Cross teams were deployed to transport the injured.
The Red Cross has launched a public alert for all paramedics, and the capital's hospitals have called on citizens to go to donate blood.
"There are many casualties and hundreds of injuries, and the situation is not normal," said the Secretary-General of the Lebanese Red Cross.
Reuters quoted a Lebanese security source and a medical source as saying that at least ten bodies were taken to hospitals following a huge explosion in the Beirut port area.
Hospitals are full
The Lebanese Minister of Health requested that the wounded be transferred to the hospitals surrounding Beirut, after the capital's hospitals were filled.
Al-Jazeera correspondent reported the death of the Secretary General of the Lebanese Kataeb Party, as a result of wounds sustained by the explosion.
The embassy of Kazakhstan in Beirut announced that the ambassador was injured as a result of the explosion and parts of the embassy building were damaged
The Director General of Lebanese Security said that what happened was not explosives, but rather high explosives that were confiscated years ago.
The Lebanese Minister of the Interior also stated that "high explosive materials were confiscated years ago, which exploded in a warehouse in Beirut Port."
The governor of Beirut, the Lebanese capital, declared a disaster city, while Lebanese media said that preliminary information indicates that the explosion was caused by explosives inside a warehouse in the Beirut port and caused damage to the surrounding area.
Close the area
Security forces closed all roads leading to the port, and journalists were prevented from approaching. Only ambulances and civil defense were allowed to pass.
The French news agency quoted a journalist in the field as having seen dozens of wounded arriving at the Hotel Dieu hospital in Achrafieh, east of Beirut, including children. A large number of them were covered in blood from head to toe.
The agency added that its journalists saw parked and abandoned cars in the middle of the street near the port, which was severely damaged. Buildings were badly damaged, and glass was scattered everywhere.
For his part, Lebanese President Michel Aoun called an emergency meeting of the Supreme Defense Council to discuss the consequences of the explosion.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced that tomorrow Wednesday will be a day of mourning for the lives of the victims of the explosion.
The explosion in # Beirut from the sea side pic.twitter.com/rTPIYdqbAv
- Doja DJ (@dojadaoud) August 4, 2020
The French News Agency said that a huge explosion occurred in Beirut and "I heard its reverberations all over the capital."
She added that he did not know the exact cause of the explosion nor its location, but the agency's office in downtown Beirut was shaken by the explosion, and heavy smoke was seen in the sky of the capital.
CNN quoted the European Mediterranean Center for Seismology as saying that the Beirut explosion was felt by Cyprus, which is located 240 km away.
An explosion shakes the Lebanese capital # Beirut # Lebanon pic.twitter.com/rYunXQiMOL
- S aid H ariri عيد Said Hariri (@saidhariri) August 4, 2020
Firefighting teams rushed to the scene and began working to put out the fire.
Video clips documented loud explosions and vibrations of buildings were heard, as well as wide fire and smoke columns.
Reuters quoted two security sources and an eyewitness that the explosion occurred in the port area that contains the warehouses.
For his part, the army pushed reinforcements to the scene.
Anatolia quoted informed sources as saying that Hariri was safe and was following the effects of the explosion at the Beirut port near his home.