“This is like Hiroshima”: Beirut explosion kills over 70 people and leaves 3,700 wounded

The Lebanese capital of Beirut has been rocked by a deadly explosion overnight, claiming 70 lives and leaving 3,700 wounded. The blast scene has been identified as a water-front warehouse used by the government to store “highly explosive materials.

2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was reportedly stored at the site for over six years without necessary safety measures. President Michel Aoun has since declared a two-week state of emergency in the capital.

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Photo: AFP/Getty Images

A fatal warehouse explosion has devastated Beirut, with the death toll climbing by the minute. Hospitals are overwhelmed with victims and extensive damage has been reported throughout the 2.4 million populated capital.

In an emergency cabinet meeting, President Michel Aoun labelled the disaster as “unacceptable” and noted that those responsible would face the “harshest punishments.”

A fire at the warehouse is believed to have sparked the explosion, with a smaller blast preceding the devastating one recorded across social media. Some of the city’s largest health facilities were destroyed in the blast also, leaving any remaining hospitals overwhelmed with patients.

The U.S. Embassy in Beirut have announced that the blast may have released toxic gases into the atmosphere, urging everyone in the city to stay inside or wear a face mask.

“It’s like Hiroshima,” Beirut Mayor Jamal Itani told press. “There is lots of destruction and the wounded are lying in the streets.” 

To put the disaster into perspective, countries as far away as Cyprus (230km from Beirut) reported feeling the explosion. With the country reaching critical levels of blood and funding, donations are needed now more than ever.

You can donate to the JustGiving organisation’s relief fund here.