Lebanon’s capital Beirut has been in a state of mourning after the whole city was shaken by a huge explosion killing at least 100 and injured more than 4,000 people on Tuesday.
The blast began with a fire at warehouse after an ammonium nitrate which was stored for six years exploded.
Speaking to the issue during an urgent cabinet meeting for Wednesday, President Michel Aoun said 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate had been stored unsafely in a warehouse around the port for six years.
“The ammonium nitrate had reportedly been unloaded from a ship impounded at the port in 2013, and then stored in a warehouse there”, he said.
President Aoun however said a two-week state of emergency would be declared for the country to observe “an official period of mourning for three days from today”.
He also announced a release of 100 billion lira equivalent to £50.5 million and $66 million emergency funds.
The Lebanese Red Cross Society in a statement said that over 100 persons have lost their lives.
He added that there was a search and rescue operations going on in the surrounding areas.
The explosion comes at a sensitive time for Lebanon, with an economic crisis reigniting old divisions as the country struggles with the coronavirus crisis.
Tensions are also high ahead of Friday’s verdict in a trial over the killing of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.
Agnes Melissa Yovo |Talksafrica.com