Over 50 people killed as massive explosion rocks Beirut

Over 50 people killed as massive explosion rocks Beirut
A wounded man walks near the scene of an explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020.

Massive explosion rocked the port area of Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, on Tuesday, as dozens of residents, some covered in blood, scrambled to their cars to leave the area for the safety of nearby mountains, a population accustomed to catastrophe.

Images and videos posted on social media and verified by NBC News’ social news gathering team, compared with satellite imagery, appear to corroborate that the explosion happened at a warehouse at the Beirut Port Silos.

At least 3,000 people have been injured and 50 killed, Minister of Health Hassan Hamad said at a press conference. Those numbers are likely to rise with hospitals filling up fast.

The Lebanese Red Cross also confirmed on Twitter that it had more than 30 teams including ambulances responding to the blast and had put out an urgent call for blood donations.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Twitter that the Ministry of Health would meet the expenses of the treatment for the wounded and that the government would provide shelter and support to displaced families whose properties were damaged in the blast.

The U.S. Department of State has yet to comment on the blast. Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told a local television channel that it was too early to speculate on the causes and that there was no reason to believe it was not an accident.

Lebanon is in the midst of a number of social and political crises.

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