Beirut Explosion Death Toll Now at Least 50, Health Minister Says

The Health Minister of Beirut has put the death toll at 50 following a massive explosion in the city. On Tuesday, Hamad Hassan updated the number to reporters outside a hospital Tuesday, according to CNN. He added that at least 2,750 people were injured in the massive explosion that shook the capital at the most recent count.

The massive explosion on Tuesday in Lebanon's capital smashed all nearby windows while wounding numerous people who were walking around the downtown area. Reuters also reported that one eyewitness said windows were "smashed" in many buildings and that the many "wounded people" wandering around only contributed to the "total chaos" of the scene at large. They went on to explain that they saw smoke around the port area, later hearing an explosion, followed by massive flames and plumes of black smoke.

The explosion is believed to have started at a warehouse at Beirut's port, which was being used to store fireworks and other materials. Rania Masri, another of the city's residents, described the blast as feeling like an earthquake. "The apartment shook horizontally and all of a sudden it felt like an explosion and the windows and doors burst open," Marsi said. "The glass just broke. So many homes were damaged or destroyed."

In addition to the massive injury toll and the shattered windows, the explosion also flipped over cars and damaged buildings. Hadi Nasrallah, one more eyewitness to the flames and devastation, recounted their experience with the BBC. "I saw the fire, but I didn't yet know there was going to be an explosion. We went inside. Suddenly I lost my hearing because apparently I was too close. I lost my hearing for a few seconds, I knew something was wrong. And then suddenly the glass just shattered all over the car, the cars around us, the shops, the stores, the buildings. Just glass going down from all over the building."

Beirut's governor, Marwan Abboud, also spoke with reporters and broke down while discussing the devastation that took place in the city. The governor became visibly emotional as he discussed the situation with reporters. He went so far as to compare the incident to the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan during World War II, telling reporters that he has never seen such a distressing sight. "It resembles to what happened in Japan, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That's what [it] reminds me of. In my life, I haven't seen destruction on this scale," Abboud said. "This is a national catastrophe."