How many people died in the Beirut explosion in Lebanon?

AN ENORMOUS chemical explosion ripped through Lebanon's capital city of Beirut on Tuesday.

The mayhem could be heard some 125 miles away in Cyprus after it erupted in the port area of the city, leaving utter devastation in its wake.

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It was the most powerful blast ever heard in the city, which has endured civil war, a 1983 suicide attack on the United States Embassy, and a 2005 truck bomb.

But what exactly happened in Lebanon on August 4 and how many people were killed?

What happened in Beirut?

An enormous explosion ripped through a port area of Beirut on Tuesday, August 4.

Lebanese health minister Hamad Hasan said he had "never in my life seen a disaster this big."

Pictures showed buildings destroyed, people walking wounded, and a sea of wreckage after the blast that could be heard some 125 miles across the sea in Cyprus.

Nearby buildings around the port were leveled, windows and doors blown out, and fires continued to burn long after the blast as smoke plumes billowed across the Lebanese capital.

The Government Palace – the home of Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab – was damaged in the blast, and his wife and daughter were injured.



How many people died?

Bodies lay strewn on the streets of Beirut yesterday and the death toll has since trebled.

At least 100 fatalities were confirmed as of Wednesday morning after the devastating blast wounded thousands and wiped out their homes.

Authorities have warned that the death toll will most likely surge beyond this number, with many victims still trapped under rubble.  

Rescue workers are frantically searching through the debris looking for over 100 missing people.

The Governor of Beirut Marwan Abboud said around half of the city had been damaged by the explosionn.

It also wiped out 85 percent of grain stocks in Lebanon, which relies heavily on food imports.



How many people are injured?

At least 4,000 people and counting were injured after the fireball explosion.

So far, there were 300,000 people left homeless after the resulting blaze ripped through the hard-hit city, reported The Telegraph.

Yesterday, video showed a column of smoke rising from the port area from what appeared to be an initial explosion, followed by a massive blast that sent up a mushroom cloud and a shock wave.

Struggling hospitals there have pleaded for blood donations as the wounded continue to stream in, overwhelming medical facilities.

What did Trump say about the explosion?

President Donald Trump yesterday described the Beirut blast as a "terrible attack," which US defense officials have denied.

Speaking about the tragedy on Tuesday, Trump sympathized with Lebanon and offered assistance.

"Our prayers go out to all the victims and their families," he said. "The United States ready to assist Lebanon."

"Looks like a terrible attack," he told reporters before later adding that it seemed like a "bomb of some kind."

Lebanese officials have since told US diplomats they are concerned about the use of the word "attack," reported CNN, while US intelligence said they didn't know what the president was talking about.



What caused the Beirut explosion?

An insidious orange cloud hovered over Beirut after the blast, which experts said was typical of nitrate explosions which release toxic nitrogen dioxide into the air, experts said.

There were 2,750 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate stored in Beirut's port for six years before the fireball explosion raged through the city yesterday.

Speaking at Lebanon's Supreme Council of Defense meeting, officials reportedly said that the stockpile of volatile chemicals exploded on Tuesday, according to LBCI. 

Lebanon's state information service reported that the country's director-general of intelligence Maj Gen. Abbas Ibrahim said these explosive materials – often used as fertilizer – were to blame for the blast.

Business Insider revealed that a ship carrying the same cargo was abandoned in Beirut's port in late 2013.

The Arrest News newsletter – from Spanish-based maritime law firm Ship Arrested – detailed a legal summary of the case handled by Baroudi & Associates.

It named the MV Rhosus as the ship and described how its cargo arrived at Beirut Post en route from Georgia to Mozambique carrying ammonium nitrate when it ran into technical difficulties.

Baroudi & Associates said the vessel was abandoned by its owners and was forbidden from sailing; the ship and its cargo have been sitting in the port for six years.




How can I help Beirut?

There are a number of ways you can help out the people who have been affected by the devastating explosion.

Activists in Lebanon have been building a crowd-sourced list of additional local groups and resources on Carrd.com, which can be found found here.

The Lebanese Red Cross issued an urgent call for blood donations from all blood types, so you are or know anyone in Lebanon that is safe and sound, consider a donation to local blood transfusion centers.

On August 4, an Instagram account dedicated finding victims was created; it's been posting images of likely victims that have been separated by their friends and family.

By sharing the posts you could help reunite families and the account can be found here.

A list showing the charities can be also found below:

  • Impact Lebanon – donate here
  • Embrace Lebanon – donate here
  • Lebanese Red Cross – donate here
  • Lebanese Food Bank – donate here


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