NAfter a devastating explosion in the port of Beirut, the Mediterranean city is in shock. The death toll has risen to at least 100, the Lebanese Red Cross said on Wednesday. According to this, about 4,000 people were injured. Rescuers are looking for more dead in the debris. Red Cross Secretary General George Cattano told the German news agency that the death toll could rise.
According to safe circles, at least 100 people are missing. “There are still a lot of people under the rubble,” said an official who wished to remain anonymous.
Investigators continue to find out the cause of the mass explosion in the country’s capital, the Mediterranean. Perhaps this was caused by the very large amount of ammonium nitrate stored in the port. Prime Minister Hassan Diab declared Wednesday a day of nationwide mourning in memory of the victims.
The blasts rocked Beirut and its environs on Tuesday. Significant parts of the port were completely destroyed. The images showed a picture of destruction. Neighboring residential areas were also badly damaged. Many destroyed cars stood in the streets. “It’s awful, it’s abnormal,” said the man, who was sweeping the broken pieces in front of his apartment in the morning.
According to authorities, the damage affects almost half of the city. Up to 300,000 residents of the Lebanese capital have been killed without asylum, Governor Marwan Aboud said in an interview with AFP on Tuesday. He estimated the amount of damage to be a total of three to five billion dollars.
“We saw dramatic scenes here”
Apart from the port, the blast particularly affects the most popular nightlife areas for which Beirut is known. Even 20 kilometers from the capital, disks were crashing. Beirut, home to about 2.4 million people, has been declared a “disaster city”.
The head of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) office in Lebanon, Malte Gaer, told Deutschlandfunk that “major structural damage” was of particular concern. The state power company was completely destroyed. His wounded man was often turned away because of the rush to the clinic. “We watched all night, and I also suspect it’s still true, truly chaotic, sometimes dramatic scenes.” Gaer spoke of the “state of shock” in the city. “For us, it might be a bit like the state of shock we had in the US on the morning after 9/11,” he said.
According to the head of the Lebanese office, named after Friedrich Naumann, the international community urgently needs medical care. Hospitals in Beirut are “within their means,” Christoph Kliman said in a telephone interview with AFP on Wednesday from Beirut. In the center of the Lebanese capital there is an “image of destruction.”
Even before the crown pandemic, hospitals in Beirut were “completely overcrowded,” Kliman said. After a double blast on Tuesday, “some patients were no longer admitted.” It is important that the international community now quickly supply medicines and medical equipment to Lebanon, he stressed.
Containers with drugs destroyed
The blast also destroyed ten containers of important medical supplies and medicines stored in the port of Beirut, Kliman said. “It makes the situation even more dramatic.” In addition, many hospitals have had to lay off staff due to the devastating economic crisis in recent months.
Like other Germans from Beirut, Clement personally suffered from the disaster. When the explosions occurred, he had just come home, Kliman said. A huge cloud of smoke from the second explosion reminded him of a “mushroom cloud like an atomic bomb.” When a “giant wave of pressure” approached him, he hid behind a wall. All the windows and doors in his apartment were removed from the hinges. “Mostly my apartment has become uninhabitable. That’s how it works, a lot of Beiruter, “said Kliman.
Kliman also reported the overall devastating extent of the destruction in Beirut. “Streets everywhere are full of broken glass, many streets have crashed and fallen on the streets. Many cars were destroyed, balconies were partially demolished. Sometimes whole houses collapsed ”.
The blast was huge even for residents of the city, which survived 15 years of civil war, suicide bombings, Israeli bombings and political assassinations. “It was a real horror show. I haven’t seen anything like it since the war,” said Marwan Ramadan, who was 500 meters from the port and was thrown to the ground by an explosion.
In the neighborhoods near the harbor, bloody residents collapsed on the streets littered with overturned cars and rubble. Windows and doors were also ripped out a few miles away, including at the city’s only international airport. Army helicopters helped put out fires in the port.
A few hours after the explosion, ambulances swept across the country to the capital, delivering the wounded. The hospitals were replenished, doctors asked the population to donate blood and generators for electricity.
Beirut Governor Marwan Abbud wept at the scene of the blast. “Beirut is a devastated city,” he said. Prime Minister Hassan Diab has promised that “those responsible will pay”.
Charbel Hajj, who worked at the port, reported that first there were small explosions such as fireworks, then a huge detonation, as a result of which he was thrown out. His clothes were torn.
Some residents reported listening to the planes shortly before the blast, inciting rumors of an alleged attack. In addition, tensions between Hezbollah’s militia and Israel have increased on the country’s southern border. However, it is not uncommon for Israeli warplanes to fly over Beirut. A government spokesman said Israel “had nothing to do” with the blast. Israel, Arab and friendly countries offered help.
The destruction of the most important port also raises the question of how Lebanon, which has suffered from difficult economic circles and has accepted more than a million civil wars of refugees from neighboring Syria, will be delivered in the future. Drones from the AP news agency revealed that the blast tore up grain bins, which are estimated to store about 85 percent of the grain in the country.