Over 73 killed, 3000 in­jured as huge ex­plo­sions rock Beirut

Le­banon is in mourn­ing.

Fiji Sun - - WORLD NEWS -

Two huge ex­plo­sions rocked Le­banese cap­i­tal Beirut on Tues­day, leav­ing at least 73 peo­ple dead and 3000 oth­ers in­jured.

The blasts hit the Port of Beirut at around 6.10pm lo­cal time (1610 GMT), shak­ing build­ings all over the city while caus­ing mas­sive ca­su­al­ties and dam­age.

The causes of the blasts re­main un­known, but Le­banese In­te­rior Min­is­ter Mo­ham­mad Fahmi said the ex­plo­sive chem­i­cals stored at Port of Beirut may have led to the ex­plo­sions. “Cus­toms’ au­thor­i­ties must be asked about the rea­sons be­hind stor­ing such chem­i­cal ma­te­ri­als at Port of Beirut,” Mr Fahmi said. Fol­low­ing the ex­plo­sions, Le­banese Prime Min­is­ter Hassan Diab im­me­di­ately de­clared yes­ter­day a na­tional mourn­ing day for the vic­tims of the ex­plo­sions.

Mean­while, Mr Diab ap­pealed for friendly coun­tries to help Le­banon over­come the reper­cus­sions of the disas­trous ex­plo­sions. Le­banese Pres­i­dent Michel Aoun also called an emer­gency meet­ing of the Higher De­fence Coun­cil, which later on Tues­day de­clared Beirut as an af­flicted city while urg­ing the Le­banese cab­i­net to an­nounce a state of emer­gency in the city for two weeks.

The coun­cil also urged the cab­i­net to al­lo­cate funds for hospi­tals to help them treat the in­jured, and to con­tact all friendly coun­tries to seek sup­port and set up a fund to pro­vide com­pen­sa­tions for those af­fected by the dis­as­ter.

It rec­om­mended host­ing the fam­i­lies, whose houses were de­stroyed, in schools, while im­port­ing glass and con­trol­ling the prices of all ma­te­ri­als needed to fix the dam­aged houses. Dur­ing the meet­ing, Mr Diab in­sisted that those re­spon­si­ble for the dis­as­ter must be pun­ished, not­ing that it is un­ac­cept­able to store 2700 tons of am­mo­nium ni­trate, the ex­plo­sive chem­i­cals, which have put peo­ple’s lives at great risk.

In­ter­na­tional re­ac­tion

Many coun­tries in the re­gion have ex­pressed sol­i­dar­ity and sym­pa­thy with Le­banon over the ex­plo­sions that have dealt a fur­ther blow to the coun­try al­ready plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic and an eco­nomic cri­sis.

Ira­nian For­eign Min­is­ter Mo­ham­mad Javad Zarif said via his of­fi­cial Twit­ter ac­count that Iran is ready to of­fer help to Le­banon. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the great and re­silient peo­ple of Le­banon,” Mr Zarif tweeted.

“As al­ways, Iran is fully pre­pared to ren­der as­sis­tance in any way nec­es­sary. Stay strong, Le­banon,” he added.

Iran’s For­eign Min­istry spokesman Ab­bas Mousavi also ex­pressed sym­pa­thy with the Le­banese gov­ern­ment and na­tion over the in­ci­dent, while an­nounc­ing Iran’s readi­ness for pro­vid­ing help to the Arab coun­try.

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