Bodies lying on the ground, devastated buildings, carcasses of cars: two huge explosions in the port of Beirut on Tuesday August 4 left at least 73 dead and 3,700 injured, and caused scenes of devastation and panic in the Lebanese capital, declared a city " disaster ”.
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The blasts have blown the city. Cars have been overturned and windows smashed. JOSEPH EID / AFP
“ It was like an atomic bomb. I've seen everything (in my life), but nothing like it , ”Makrouhie Yerganian, a retired professor, who has lived in front of the port for more than 60 years, told AFP.
This Wednesday August 5 is declared a day of national mourning. MARWAN TAHTAH / AFP
Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that these blasts were due in particular to the explosion of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a substance which is used in the composition of certain fertilizers but also of explosives.
Ammonium nitrate caused these fatal explosions. STR / AFP
According to a latest provisional report from the Ministry of Health, at the end of the evening, at least 73 people were killed and 3,700 injured. Hospitals in the capital, already facing the Covid-19 pandemic, are saturated.
The second explosion was filmed and caused a huge mushroom of smoke in the Beirut sky. MOUAFAC HARB / AFP
In the streets of Beirut, soldiers evacuated stunned residents, some covered in blood, T-shirts around their heads to heal their wounds. Cars, open airbags, but also buses, have been abandoned in the middle of the roads. Houses near the port were razed or badly damaged.
A witness estimated that the explosion was " stronger than the one during the assassination of Rafic Hariri " in February 2015 which left 22 people dead.
The images released on Tuesday were very impressive. ANWAR AMRO / AFP
In addition to the mind-boggling images of the explosions, photos posted on social media showed damage inside the terminal at Beirut International Airport, located nine kilometers from the site.
Tuesday evening after the tragedy which had occurred a few hours earlier, the Superior Council of Defense declared Beirut a “ disaster city ”, and President Michel Aoun deplored “ a major disaster ”. The Prime Minister declared Wednesday a day of national mourning.
Witnesses said the explosions were even stronger than the one that claimed Rafic Hariri's life in February 2015. STR / AFP
He promised that those responsible should be "held to account ". “ It is unacceptable that a cargo of ammonium nitrate, estimated at 2,750 tonnes, has been present for six years in a warehouse, without precautionary measures. It is unacceptable and we cannot be silent ”, declared Hassan Diab before the Superior Council of Defense, according to remarks reported by a spokesperson at a press conference.
Many countries have indicated that they are helping Lebanon. STR / AFP
Hassan Diab called on " friendly countries " to provide emergency aid, as this tragedy adds to the immense distress of the Lebanese: the country is experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades, marked by an unprecedented monetary depreciation , hyperinflation, massive layoffs and drastic banking restrictions.
The breath was felt as far as the island of Cyprus, more than 200 km away. STR / AFP
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