There was a massive explosion in Beirut on Tuesday, which caused widespread damage throughout Lebanon’s capital city and reportedly injured hundreds of people. Red plumes of smoke could be seen going up into the sky, shattering windows and damaging buildings. Buildings that were hundreds of feet away felt the blast, The Guardian added.
According to The Associated Press, at least 70 people were killed and more than 3,000 were injured in the explosion. “It was a real horror show. I haven’t seen anything like that since the days of the (civil) war,” Marwan Ramadan, a witness, told The Associated Press.
A viral video showed from netizen Bissan Fakih, the Former Campaign Director of The Syria Campaign, showed the explosion. Within minutes, it garnered more than 700,000 views. “A video I received on WhatsApp of the [scale] of explosion in #Beirut, confirming it was at the port,” she tweeted.
It Wasn’t Immediately Confirmed What Caused The Blast
The explosion might have been caused by a fire at a warehouse that held fireworks near the port in Beirut, CNN reported, citing the state-run National News Agency. However, an official cause for the blast was not immediately reported.
The Guardian reported dozens of people had been injured and the hospitals were filled with casualties. Health Minister Hamad Hasan there were “very high number of injuries,” as noted by the BBC.
There was panic throughout the city. “The force of the blast was massive,” Al Jazeera reporter Zeina Khodr said. “I was walking on the street and I was thrown to the ground… There’s panic and chaos; glass everywhere.”
A second witness confirmed the chaos, tells Reuters via BBC people were “screaming and running, bleeding.”
“Balconies were blown off buildings. Glass in high-rise buildings shattered and fell to the street,” the person said. “All the downtown area windows are smashed and there are wounded people walking around. It is total chaos.”
People were trapped beneath the rubble, according to local media reports cited by the BBC. There were unconfirmed reports of a possible second explosion, with a witness saying the first blast was deafening.
Lebanon Is Experiencing Its Worst Economic Crisis In Decades
The blast comes as Lebanon has been facing the worst economic crisis since its civil war, lasting from 1975 to 1990.
Fakih, who tweeted a viral video of the explosions, talked about the unrest on Twitter. “FYI – this comes at one of the worst time in Lebanon’s history, a deep economic crisis with more and more of the population unable to access food, health care. The general mood was that it can’t get worse,” she tweeted. “Many people barely surviving and now more have lost their livelihoods, shops and cars destroyed.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.