A massive explosion went off in Lebanon Capital, Beirut, on Tuesday evening and at least 10 have been confirmed dead and around 400 injured people have been taken to the emergency unit of the Hotel Dieu hospital
The explosion appeared to be centred around the city’s port area containing warehouses, and rippled through several areas of the capital.
The country’s health minister, Hamad Hasan told local news station LBC there are a “high a number of injuries” and the blast has caused extensive damage.
Hundreds of people have been hurt and some are still trapped in their homes, the Lebanese Red Cross charity also warned.
Footage posted on social media showed the moment a building several storeys high exploded, sending a vast shockwave across the city. Pictures from the devastating scene show wreckage of cars upturned and emergency crews gathered around the barely recognizable gutted building.
The Lebanese internal Chief of Security, Abbas Ibrahim hinted that the explosion occurred in one of the units containing highly explosive material. The effects of the explosion can be seen miles away from the point of impact and the explosion was felt in the neighboring island of Cyprus, around 240 kilometers away – or about 150 miles — from Lebanon, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC).
Witnesses say that quite a number of people have been injured during the widespread destruction across the city, with residents reporting ceilings collapsing and windows shattering. One local, named Fady Roumieh, stood in a car park of a shopping center around 2km east of the blast.
He said: “[It was] like a nuclear bomb. The damage is so widespread and severe all over the city.
“Some buildings as far as 2km away are partially collapsed. It’s like a war zone. The damage is extreme. Not one glass window intact.”
A spokesperson for the UK Foreign Office said: “We are closely monitoring the situation in Beirut following an explosion.”
Israel’s foreign minister also said the country had “nothing to do with the incident”. The explosion comes as Lebanon experiences its worst economic and financial crisis in decades.
According to state media, the explosion has caused damage to the Baabda Palace, the official residence of the Lebanese president, with doors and windows in several of the palace’s wings were dislocated but no one has been hurt.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lebanon.