Beirut in mourning: At least 100 dead and 4,000 injured after blasts, says Red Cross

i24NEWS

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Lebanese Red Cross officers carry a woman wounded in the explosion at the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020
AFP / PATRICK BAZLebanese Red Cross officers carry a woman wounded in the explosion at the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020

Hospitals in the capital have already been overwhelmed by the still pervasive COVID-19 pandemic

As rescuers continue to look for those wounded and suffering from a pair of blasts that rocked the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday, the Red Cross said that at 100 people have been killed in the incident. 

"Until now over 4,000 people have been injured and over 100 have lost their lives. Our teams are still conducting search and rescue operations in the surrounding areas," a statement said. 

The Lebanese capital declared a "disaster" zone by senior officials, woke up in shock as an estimated 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored on a ship docked at the city's port suddenly exploded, with shock waves being reportedly felt as far as Cyprus, more than 120 miles away. 

Cars parked throughout Beirut's Gemmayzeh neighborhood were found completedly destroyed and charred by fire, with the streets littered with abandoned suitcases and papers from neighboring offices, blown away by the explosion.

Peacekeepers were also seriously injured aboard a ship docked in the port, according to the UN mission in Lebanon. 

Rescuers, supported by security personnel, searched all night for survivors and others trapped under the rubble.

Hospitals in the capital have already been overwhelmed by the still pervasive COVID-19 pandemic, leaving medical staff in dire need of assistance. 

Prime Minister Hassan Diab declared Wednesday a national day of mourning and pledged that those responsible should "be held to account."

Many countries have offered aid to Lebanon, notably Israel which has offered "humanitarian and medical aid" to its Lebanese neighbor, with whom it is technically still at war. However, Lebanon has so far rejected any overtures of Israeli help.

France has already sent several tons of medical equipment on Wednesday, the United States also offered to help, as well as Germany, which has staff from its embassy in Beirut among the wounded. 

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