Beirut explosion: What we know so far about the catastrophe in LebanonAugust 5, 2020
On Tuesday, an explosion in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, has killed at least 50 people and injured at least 2,750 more, the country’s health minister said. Videos the incident posted to social media appear to show two explosions; first, a cloud of smoke rises from a building near the Beirut port, which is quickly followed by much larger and catastrophic explosion.
The Associated Press reported that hours after the explosions ambulances continued to bring injured people to nearby hospitals, most of which were already overloaded with coronavirus patients. The cause of the incident is not yet known.
AJ+ reported as of 3 p.m. ET Tuesday all of the hospitals in Beirut were full, and The New York Times reported that one hospital was turning patients away. It’s likely that the number of those killed will rise as officials work to clear the rubble.
An independent journalist who felt the impact of the second explosion at home wrote on Twitter about what it was like. “I was trying to explain to dad (on my left) that there’s an explosion and that we need to move,” she said. “I turned right, the second explosion happened, my mom and I flew across the room and all the doors were suddenly opened.”
A journalist for the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation reported that the blast could be heard as far away as Cyprus, a country located about 145 miles from Beirut.
Beirut is home to more than 2.4 million people. The city’s governor, Marwan Abboud, “broke into tears as he toured the site, saying, “Beirut is a devastated city,”” AP reported.
The current prime minister, Hassan Diab, said per CNN that the country will launch an investigation into the explosion and that “those responsible will pay for what happened.” The blast took place about a mile from the palace where the prime minister works. Lebanon’s National News Agency additionally reported that Diab declared Wednesday as a national day of mourning.