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A picture shows the scene of an explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020. - A large explosion rocked the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, an AFP correspondent said. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Lebanon Declares Two-Week State of Emergency in Beirut

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Many people have been injured after an explosion rocked Beirut, Lebanon, causing significant damage to houses in the nearby area, LBC TV reports, citing the health minister.

A powerful explosion has taken place near a port in Beirut, Lebanon, a Sputnik correspondent has reported.

According to Sputnik’s correspondent, the explosion was preceded by a small pop, with black and white smoke appearing five minutes after.

The blast was so powerful that the windows of surrounding houses and shops were destroyed kilometres away from the epicentre, the report said.

Numerous photos and videos of the explosion, as well as white plumes of smoke rising above buildings, have emerged on social media platforms.

According to initial reports, the explosion is not a terrorist act.

Unconfirmed reports from various correspondents suggest that Lebanon's capital was rocked by two explosions, with one of them taking place in the port and the other near former Prime Minister Saad Hariri's residence in the city centre.

The explosion comes amid a tense situation in the country. Lebanon has been suffering from its worst economic crisis in 30 years, prompting mass nationwide demonstrations to break out across the country since October 2019 and which resulted in the resignation of then-Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s government.

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03:44 GMT 06.08.2020

The Rhosus ship, whose cargo of ammonium nitrate could have exploded in Lebanon's Beirut, was detained in July 2013 in the port of the Spanish city of Seville, the Spanish Transport Ministry reported.

According to the ministry, the Moldovan-flagged vessel Rhosus, owned by Teto Shipping Ltd., was detained on July 28, 2013 by the Paris MoU organization.

22:37 GMT 05.08.2020

US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that nobody knows yet exactly what happened with respect to the massive explosion at the port of Beirut yesterday.

"They don't really know what it is, nobody knows yet," Trump said on Wednesday. "We're looking into it very strongly. You have some people who think it was an attack and you have some people who think it wasn't."

US President Donald Trump speaks as he departs the White House in Washington, DC, on July 31, 2020 en route to Florida.  - Sputnik International
‘How Can You Say Accident?’: Trump Reiterates Possibility That Beirut Blast Was an ‘Attack’
21:38 GMT 05.08.2020

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows also said that Trump shared with American people on Beirut blast what he had been briefed on.

20:50 GMT 05.08.2020

The World Bank said on Wednesday that it has proposed using its experience with disaster recovery to help Beirut make a quick assessment of damage from Tuesday’s explosion and begin drafting plans to rebuild.

"Building on global experience from disaster-hit countries, the World Bank Group stands ready to deploy its expertise to undertake a rapid damage and needs assessment and to develop a reconstruction plan as per international standards," the World bank said in a press release.

The World Bank also expressed willingness to help mobilize public and private funding for reconstruction of Beirut, the release said.

18:49 GMT 05.08.2020
18:30 GMT 05.08.2020

"The damage to the country is greater than it was announced, and could range from $10 billion to $15 billion", Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud said.

Earlier in the day, the official estimated the amount of damage from the explosion at around $3-$5 billion.

16:53 GMT 05.08.2020
16:27 GMT 05.08.2020
16:19 GMT 05.08.2020

According to the minister, some 5,000 were wounded and dozens are still missing.

15:18 GMT 05.08.2020
14:34 GMT 05.08.2020

"Lebanon does not need foreign specialists to take part in the investigation, we have enough investigators", Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi said as quoted by the local media.

14:15 GMT 05.08.2020
14:09 GMT 05.08.2020
14:05 GMT 05.08.2020

“UNICEF is coordinating very closely with authorities and partners on the ground to respond to the needs including of health and other front-line workers. We have provided drinking water to the staff at the Beirut port and are supporting the Ministry of Public Health to take out what is left of stored medicines and vaccines in a warehouse at the port,”  the agency’s Lebanon Representative Yukie Mokuo said. “We are on the ground and will do everything possible to provide much-needed assistance today and in the long run.”

14:01 GMT 05.08.2020

Lebanese Health Minister’s adviser Reda Al Moussawi also said that Beirut had already received humanitarian assistance from Kuwait, Qatar and Greece, adding that the authorities were waiting for aid from other countries, including Russia, France, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

"Greece has sent a medical team with health equipment to help treat those injured", Al Moussawi added, noting that the authorities were now studying Tunisia’s offer to treat a number of victims in its hospitals.

13:51 GMT 05.08.2020

"Everyone in the Beirut Port Authority who has been involved in the storage, security and inspection of explosives in the Port of Beirut since 2014 will be placed under house arrest", the country's minister for the displaced, Ghada Shreim, told Lebanese media.

13:49 GMT 05.08.2020

"The next four planes of the ministry are scheduled to leave within the next 24 hours", the ministry's press service said.

Earlier in the day, an Il-76 with a mobile hospital took off from an airport in Moscow.

 

11:49 GMT 05.08.2020
Aftermath of a massive explosion is seen in Beirut, Lebanon - Sputnik International
Aftermath of a massive explosion is seen in Beirut, Lebanon - Sputnik International
11:42 GMT 05.08.2020

"At the first stage, the Red Crescent will send to Lebanon 2,000 food packages of up to nine tonnes, as well as drugs and necessary medical supplies, within 72 hours in a bid to provide humanitarian assistance," IRCS head Karim Hemmati said in an official statement.

Hemmati also expressed the intent to deploy field hospitals in Lebanon and send medical specialists to help treat those injured.

11:15 GMT 05.08.2020

PARIS (Sputnik) – French President Emmanuel Macron will leave for Lebanon on Thursday in order to affirm Paris’ solidarity with the Lebanese nation following the powerful explosion in the port of Beirut, the Lebanese Council of Ministers confirmed on Wednesday, according to the presidential office.

"[President] Macron will travel to Lebanon on Thursday and meet with the country’s political officials", the Elysee palace said earlier in the day, as quoted by the BMF TV broadcaster.

The explosion has left over 4,000 people injured, and more than 100 killed. A large number of the world’s countries, including Lebanon’s Middle East neighbours, have already offered their assistance to Beirut and extended their condolences over the tragic incident.

According to Beirut’s governor, half of the city’s buildings have been damaged, and hospitals are overcrowded over a large number of the blast’s victims.

10:39 GMT 05.08.2020

"Shock will not prevent us from assuring — first of all, the families of those killed and injured, and all the Lebanese people in general — that we are committed to continue the probe, to disclose the circumstances of the incident as soon as possible, to bring officials to justice and to impose the most severe punishment on them. We will publicly reveal the results of the investigation that the commission will conduct", Lebanese President Michel Aoun said in the beginning of an urgent cabinet meeting on the incident, as quoted by his office.

10:00 GMT 05.08.2020

ATHENS/ BEIJING/ WARSAW/ DOHA (Sputnik) - Countries across the world continue offering help as Lebanon confronts destruction caused by the massive Beirut blast.

The Greek Air Force’s C-130 plane with a group of rescuers on board took off for the devastated Lebanese capital on Wednesday morning.

The aircraft carries 13 members of the first special disaster management unit, a rescue dog, two vehicles and special equipment.

"Our country has immediately responded to the Lebanese government’s request through the European Civil Protection Mechanism to send assistance to deal with the consequences of the deadly explosion that occurred in Beirut on August 4 … A search and rescue team from fire departments departed [for Beirut] in the morning", Greece’s General Secretariat of Civil protection said.

The secretariat remains in constant contact with both the Lebanese authorities and the European Civil Protection Mechanism to provide further assistance if necessary.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has also offered help and extended condolences to the families of the victims.

"China is ready to provide assistance to Lebanon within its capabilities to... deal with this incident", spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a briefing.

In addition, Poland has offered concrete help. The State Fire Service is ready to dispatch a search and rescue team consisting of 39 rescuers, four dogs and, if necessary, chemical protection specialists as early as Wednesday.

King Abdullah II of Jordan has ordered sending a military field hospital to the neighbouring country, according to the PETRA news agency. Qatar and Iraq earlier reported that they will also send field hospitals to Lebanon.

09:46 GMT 05.08.2020

"We are deploying a civil security detachment and several tonnes of medical equipment to Lebanon. Emergency workers will also reach Beirut as soon as possible to strengthen the hospitals. France is already engaged", Macron wrote on Twitter.

09:42 GMT 05.08.2020

 

"About 300,000 people have been displaced in the Lebanese capital after the port explosion. The cost of the destruction exceeds $3 billion", Abboud said, as quoted by the Al Mayadeen broadcaster.

Earlier in the day, the official estimated the amount of damage from the explosion at around $3-5 billion.

09:21 GMT 05.08.2020

"We are not facing a 'flour crisis." We have about 35,000 tonnes of flower and four ships loaded with 25,000 tonnes of flour, We will try to deliver it directly to the port of the city of Tripoli," Mohamad Abou Haidar, the director general of the country's Economy Ministry, told the LBCI News portal.

08:45 GMT 05.08.2020

 

"We lost 10 members of the Beirut Fire Brigade", Governor Marwan Abboud said, as quoted by the LBCI broadcaster.

Abboud also estimated the damage from the explosion in the city's port at about $3-5 billion.

 

08:24 GMT 05.08.2020
08:20 GMT 05.08.2020
08:17 GMT 05.08.2020

"Forty-eight UN staff workers were injured, [as well as] 27 members of their families and three guests", UNIFIL spokesman Farhan Haq told the Al Jazeera broadcaster.

08:08 GMT 05.08.2020

"On behalf of Iranian nation and government, I offer my sympathy with families of the victims, your excellency and people of Lebanon", Hassan Rouhani said, as quoted by the IRNA news agency, expressing hope that those injured would swiftly recover.

07:32 GMT 05.08.2020

"The government is working urgently this morning on what we can do to help the Lebanese government with technical support and of course working with our allies to provide financial assistance", UK junior Education Minister Nick Gibb told BBC radio.

06:45 GMT 05.08.2020

Five staffers of the Dutch Embassy in Lebanon were injured in the dramatic explosion in the port of Beirut, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said.

06:29 GMT 05.08.2020

"The Lebanese authorities are of course investigating the cause of that tragedy and before we have the results of that inquiry it is premature to speculate", British Junior Education Minister Nick Gibb says.

05:56 GMT 05.08.2020

There are no Russians among those gravely injured in the powerful explosion that rocked the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday, the Russian Embassy told Sputnik. The damage done to the building of the Russian diplomatic mission in Beirut will not affect its operation, the embassy assured.

05:44 GMT 05.08.2020

Two citizens of the Philippines were killed and eight more were injured as a result of a powerful explosion in the port of Beirut, CNN Philippines reported on Wednesday, citing Philippine Charge d'Affaires to Lebanon Ajeet Panemanglor.

According to the official, 11 more Filipinos remain missing after the blast.

The media stated that the Filipinos who died in the blast were at their employers' homes when the accident happened.

05:34 GMT 05.08.2020

The explosion in Beirut has left over 100 people dead, AFP reported, citing the Lebanese Red Cross. According to the head of the organisation, more victims remain under the rubble.

05:22 GMT 05.08.2020

“This painful catastrophe along with its unprecedented repercussions and damage requires a national stand by all Lebanese people and powers in a bid to overcome this ordeal”, Hezbollah said, as reported by Al Manar.

03:41 GMT 05.08.2020

Fully equipped field hospitals from Qatar and Iraq to assist victims of the Beirut port blast will arrive in Lebanon on Wednesday, Lebanon's National News Agency reported.

It said two field hospitals, each designed for 500 beds, will be sent to Lebanon by Qatar.

Another hospital will be sent by the Iraqi authorities. Baghdad also pledged to send fuel to Lebanon.

The authorities of Kuwait also promised to send medical aid to Lebanon.

02:47 GMT 05.08.2020

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said an Australian had been killed in the Beirut explosion.

“It is very distressing, and I can confirm there has been one Australian that has been killed,” he told the Sunrise program on Wednesday as quoted by the Seven News website.

“Which is terribly devastating and obviously, we can’t give more details about the specifics at this time, but our sympathies to all of the people in Lebanon," Morrison said.

00:30 GMT 05.08.2020

The death toll from a powerful explosion in the port of Beirut has increased to 78 people, more than 4,000 people were injured, the Al Jazeera television channel reported citing the Lebanese Health Ministry.

"The death toll from the blast increased to 78, more than 4,000 were injured," the channel said.

22:28 GMT 04.08.2020

Trump has also said that the US military believes that Beirut blast was an attack with a bomb of some kind.

22:08 GMT 04.08.2020

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said it was necessary, after an explosion in Beirut, to declare a state of emergency in the city for two weeks.

"Prime Minister Hassan Diab stressed the necessity to declare a state of emergency in Beirut for two weeks," President Michel Aoun's office said on Twitter.

This statement was made by the head of the Lebanese government at an emergency meeting of the Lebanese Supreme Defense Council.

President Aoun called for an urgent session of the Council of Ministers to be held at noon on Wednesday in the Baabda palace to discuss recommendations of the Supreme Defense Council to cope with repercussions of the blast in Beirut.

21:54 GMT 04.08.2020

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has said that that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse for six years without safety measures was "unacceptable".

21:42 GMT 04.08.2020
21:03 GMT 04.08.2020

The Lebanese Supreme Defense Council, following an emergency meeting in connection with an explosion in the port of the capital Beirut, declared the city an emergency area, Sky News Arabia reported.

According to its data, the council recommended that the government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab declare a state of emergency in the capital.

 

20:56 GMT 04.08.2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) is sending medical supplies to treat some 500 wounded as well as kits for some 500 surgeries after a massive explosion in Lebanon, WHO spokesperson Inas Hamam told Sputnik on Tuesday.

"Based on a request from the minister of health immediately after the blast, WHO is dispatching trauma kits containing emergency medical supplies enough to treat 500 injured people and surgical kits containing supplies to treat 500 people requiring surgical care," Hamam said. "Additional supplies will be dispatched as needed."

“WHO is in constant contact with the local authorities (both the minister of health and hospitals treating the wounded) to further clarify needs and ensure immediate support,” Hamam said.

20:18 GMT 04.08.2020
20:17 GMT 04.08.2020
20:16 GMT 04.08.2020
20:09 GMT 04.08.2020
19:42 GMT 04.08.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The death toll resulting from a massive explosion that took place in the Lebanese capital of Beirut increased to 50, the country’s health minister, Hamad Hassan, said on Tuesday.

"Fifty people have died, and 2,750 others left injured as a result of the explosion at the Beirut port", Hassan said, as quoted by Al Mayadeen broadcaster.

19:42 GMT 04.08.2020

CAIRO (Sputnik) - Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said during a public address on Tuesday that those responsible for the explosion in the port of Beirut "will pay the price."

"What happened today will not go unpunished, and those responsible will pay the price", Diab said.

The prime minister also called on friendly countries to lend a helping hand to Lebanon.

"We will cooperate at the level of responsibility, and I urge you to unite to heal the nation's wounds", the prime minister said.

19:34 GMT 04.08.2020

Armenian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Anna Naghdayan told Sputnik that one ethnic Armenian died during the blast, and the Armenian-populated districts of the Lebanese capital were affected during the incident.

19:32 GMT 04.08.2020
19:29 GMT 04.08.2020

DOHA (Sputnik) - The death toll resulting from a massive explosion that took place in the Lebanese capital of Beirut has risen to 40, the country’s health minister Hamad Hassan told the Al Jazeera broadcaster on Tuesday.

"Forty people have been killed. About 2,500 are injured. These figures may grow", the minister said.

19:19 GMT 04.08.2020

"We communicated with the World Health Organisation over the delivery of a plane filled with aid, as well as with Qatar over the operation of field hospitals", Hassan said.

Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the emir of Qatar, has offered his condolences to the Lebanese government and the victims of the explosion, and said that he would dispatch field hospitals to Beirut to provide urgent medical assistance.

19:15 GMT 04.08.2020

"The explosion that occurred at the Beirut port this evening was equivalent to 4.5 magnitude on the Richter scale", Jordanian seismological observatory said on Tuesday.

19:14 GMT 04.08.2020
18:47 GMT 04.08.2020
18:41 GMT 04.08.2020
18:25 GMT 04.08.2020

Additional units of the Lebanese armed forces are moving towards the Beirut port area where a powerful blast occurred on Tuesday, a Sputnik corresponded reported from the scene.

According to one of the military officers, soldiers were deployed to maintain order and help medical and civil defense personnel working on site.

18:19 GMT 04.08.2020
18:16 GMT 04.08.2020

"Our hearts are with the Lebanese people in this great disaster. Mercy for the martyrs, patience and solace for the families of the victims and recovery for the wounded. Peace from God and mercy to this proud nation", Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated on Twitter.

18:11 GMT 04.08.2020

"It is better to wait for the results of the investigation. Initial information indicates the presence of a huge amount of high-yield explosives, but the main cause of the blast is so far unknown", Interior Minister Mohamed Fahmy told the MTV channel.

"Preliminary information indicates that there were high explosive materials that were confiscated a long time ago", he added.

Around 80 percent of the fire is under control, according to the minister.

18:05 GMT 04.08.2020

"My sincere condolences and sympathy to our brothers in Lebanon, the government and the people in connection with the tragic explosion that took place today in the Lebanese capital of Beirut", Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi said in a statement.

18:00 GMT 04.08.2020

"We are working closely with local authorities to determine if any US citizens were affected", the State Department spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The US government is urging Americans in the affected areas to contact their families and communicate with local authorities if they need help, he spokesperson added.

17:55 GMT 04.08.2020

A female employee of the Russian Embassy in Beirut received slight, non-life-threatening injuries after an explosion in the city's port, the embassy's representative told Sputnik.

"The glass broke, the person just got hurt", the representative said.

17:51 GMT 04.08.2020
17:49 GMT 04.08.2020
17:30 GMT 04.08.2020
17:27 GMT 04.08.2020
17:25 GMT 04.08.2020

Sodium nitrate confiscated from one of the ships over a year ago could have exploded causing the powerful blast on Tuesday in the port of Beirut, the Lebanese LBCI TV channel reported, citing sources.

Earlier in the day, the head of the Lebanese General Security Directorate, Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, refuted the version of pyrotechnics exploding in the port of Beirut, saying that these were other explosives that had been stored for a long time.

According to the LBCI’s sources, Ibrahim was talking about confiscated sodium nitrate.

17:19 GMT 04.08.2020

"We're tracking it closely and just rest assured that we're taking a very good look at that", White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a press briefing.

17:11 GMT 04.08.2020

Lebanese authorities mobilized helicopters to distinguish the blaze that engulfed the Port of Beirut in Lebanon following a strong explosion, a Sputnik correspondent reported from the scene.

17:09 GMT 04.08.2020

"We do not have information about what has happened precisely, what has caused this, whether it’s an accidental or man-made act", spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters. He added that the UN would withhold comment until more information is available.

17:08 GMT 04.08.2020
16:58 GMT 04.08.2020
16:49 GMT 04.08.2020
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16:46 GMT 04.08.2020

"A fire brigade of 10 people arrived at the scene. What happened is very similar to what happened in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They drove to the scene and disappeared. This is a national disaster for Lebanon. We do not know how we are going to deal with this", Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud said.

16:44 GMT 04.08.2020

Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud said that communication was lost with one of the fire brigades, which went to the accident site. The location of the brigade currently remains unknown.

16:40 GMT 04.08.2020
16:34 GMT 04.08.2020
16:34 GMT 04.08.2020
16:21 GMT 04.08.2020

The Lebanese health minister has called on all hospitals in the capital to immediately mobilise and save the lives of the wounded, while the budget for this will be allocated from the ministry's treasury.

16:19 GMT 04.08.2020
16:17 GMT 04.08.2020

More than 30 rescue teams are helping those injured as the result of the massive explosion, Lebanon’s NNA news outlet reported, citing the Red Cross.

16:08 GMT 04.08.2020
16:07 GMT 04.08.2020
16:03 GMT 04.08.2020
15:55 GMT 04.08.2020
15:52 GMT 04.08.2020
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