Explosion in Beirut - How the Explosion Tore People Out of Everyday Life On Tuesday, a doctor had posed for photos and videos in downtown Beirut after her wedding. The recordings capture the force of the explosion. © Photo: Mahmoud Nakib / ReutersTV

After the explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut, the government wants to put the officers responsible for the port under house arrest. Minister of Information Manal Abdel Samad said that the agency had been responsible for the storage and guarding of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate in recent years, the state news agency NNA reported. How many people are affected is still unclear.

The government also declared a two-week state of emergency for Beirut. Security for the city was transferred to the army with immediate effect, according to Abdel Samad. An investigative commission should also submit a first report to the cabinet on the circumstances of the detonation within five days, said Abdel Samad. In addition, the army was instructed to put everyone under house arrest who had been involved in managing the warehouse in the port since 2014.

The cabinet had also decided to provide financial resources for the hospitals and for the victim families. The Ministry of Public Works has been tasked with ensuring import and export operations through the ports of Tripoli and Sidon. 

The number of victims rises to 135 dead and more than 5,000 injured

The exact cause of the explosion is still unclear. The large amount of ammonium nitrate, which according to government information has been stored at the port since 2013 without major security measures, is said to have ignited. The substance can be used for fertilizers or for the production of explosives.

According to the authorities, half of Beirut was destroyed or damaged by the explosion. According to the latest information from the Minister of Health, at least 135 people died and more than 5,000 were injured. According to Governor Marwan Abud, 250,000 to 300,000 people are homeless, and Abud estimates the total amount of the damage at three to five billion dollars. According to experts, Lebanon could face a humanitarian catastrophe due to the already unstable economic and currency situation. Numerous offers of help came from abroad, for example, the Federal Government is sending the Technical Relief Agency to rescue victims.