A massive explosion ripped through central Beirut on August 4, claiming at least 78 lives, injuring over 4000 and damaging distant buildings. Shocking visuals, which captured the devastation in the city, showed buildings shaking and wounded people stumbling along the rubbles.
A huge red cloud engulfed the city after the explosion, and firefighting teams rushed to the scene to douse the initial fire. One resident said that scene looked 'like an apocalypse'.
About 2,750 tonnes ammonium nitrate was stored in the Beirut port warehouse that exploded on Tuesday, devastating the Lebanese capital, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said.
"It is unacceptable that a shipment of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate has been present for six years in a warehouse, without taking preventive measures," the PM said, adding, "It is unacceptable and we cannot remain silent on this issue."
The blast comes amid a tense time in Lebanon. On Friday, a United Nations-backed panel is expected to issue a verdict on the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The country is also in the middle of an economic meltdown, with increasing unemployment and poverty rates rising above 50%.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 5 said that he was "shocked and saddened" by massive explosions in Beirut, Lebanon.
Shocked and saddened by the large explosion in Beirut city leading to loss of life and property. Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families and the injured: PM @narendramodi— PMO India (@PMOIndia) August 5, 2020
"Shocked and saddened by the large explosion in Beirut city leading to loss of life and property. Our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families and the injured (sic)," his office quoted him as saying in a tweet.
Amid condolences from across the world, US President Donald Trump said: "It would seem like it based on the explosion. I met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that it was. This was not a - some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of a event. ... They seem to think it was a attack. It was a bomb of some kind, yes."