Beirut blasts: state of emergency announced

Added On August 6, 2020

 The Lebanese cabinet announced Wednesday a state of emergency in Beirut for two weeks as the deadly blasts at the Beirut port have killed at least 135 people.

Two huge explosions rocked Port of Beirut on Tuesday afternoon, shaking buildings all over Lebanon's capital while causing heavy damage in the city.
Health Minister Hamad Hassan confirmed on Wednesday that so far the explosions have left 135 people dead and 5,000 others injured.
The state of emergency will be under the supervision of the Lebanese army who will maintain security in the city.
Primary information reveals that 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored since 2014 in a warehouse at Port of Beirut may have caused the explosions.
Port officials responsible for the storage of the chemicals have been arrested as investigations are underway.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the the United Nations says the UN has more than 100 people injured in the Beirut explosion, including 22 members of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
The United Nations is working closely with the Lebanese government to support all ongoing response efforts, particularly in the delivery of emergency medical assistance.
SOUNDBITE 1 (English): FARHAN HAQ, Deputy spokesperson for UN Secretary-General
"We expect that the damage of the port will significantly exacerbate the economic and food security situation in Lebanon, which imports about 80 to 85 percent of its food. This is a place that's used both for goods for Lebanon but also for some of our activities in Syria. We'll need to assess how that damage affects our deliveries and how we can redirect, in the short term, more of our activities through the airport rather than through the seaport. But obviously, the loss of the port will affect our activities."
The World Health Organization is also working with Lebanon's Ministry of Health to assess hospital facilities in Beirut, their functionality and needs for additional support, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.