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Published On: Wed, Aug 5th, 2020

Death toll from Beirut blast rises to 100, more victims may still be under rubble – Lebanese Red Cross chief

The death toll from the powerful explosions in Lebanon’s capital Beirut has grown to 100 and could increase even more, the head of the Lebanese Red Cross has warned.

Lebanese Red Cross Secretary General Georges Kettaneh said that at least 100 people were killed. He warned that the number of casualties could rise further as more victims could remain under the rubble. Kettaneh also said that the number of wounded has surpassed 4,000.

We are still sweeping the area. There could still be victims. I hope not.

A series of extremely powerful blasts rocked Beirut on Tuesday. The shockwaves created a scene of warzone-like devastation across several blocks around the port area.

Aerial photos from the scene show how the area at the epicenter of the blasts was practically flattened. High-rise buildings nearby were reduced to mere shells.

It was not immediately clear what caused the explosions. Prime Minister Hassan Diab later said that around 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse had detonated.

The rescue operation is underway with first responders clearing the rubble as the authorities assess the damage done to the city.

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A damaged vehicle is seen at the site of an explosion in Beirut, Lebanon August 4, 2020 © Reuters / Mohamed Azakir
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Beirut Mayor Jamal Itani told Reuters that he estimated that the blasts had caused billions of dollars worth of damage.

According to local media, the disaster came as a “near-fatal blow” to the health sector, already overwhelmed by the Covid-19 outbreak and the worsening economic crisis. Several hospitals and pharmacies were badly damaged by the explosions, forcing doctors to treat patients on the streets and send them to other cities.

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Death toll from Beirut blast rises to 100, more victims may still be under rubble – Lebanese Red Cross chief