The massive explosion in Beirut has potentially left hundreds of casualties, both dead and wounded. This number is according to a Lebanese Red Cross official who was quoted by the Daily Mail. Notably, the death toll continues to rise from the destructive blast. It was initially reported that 10 people had been killed, but now the Daily Mail his reporting that the death toll is upwards of 30.
The explosion is said to have originated in a warehouse that was being used to store fireworks. General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim stated, "It appears that there is a warehouse containing material that was confiscated years ago, and it appears that it was highly explosive material." A fire that sparked in the warehouse is said to have been the cause of the blast, but the original cause of the fire is still reportedly undetermined. However, the Daily Mail reported that experts have said a combination of fireworks and highly flammable fertilizer could have been the cause of an explosion like the one that happened. In the wake of the blast, President Michel Aoun has called for the defense council to begin "urgent" talks. Additionally, Prime Minister Hasan Diab has declared Wednesday to be a day of mourning for the lives lost and injured.
Lebanon resident Hadi Nasrallah saw much of the ensuing chaos, and told 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."
Nasrallah added, "Literally all over Beirut, people were calling each other from different areas kilometres away and they were experiencing the same thing: broken glass, buildings shaking, a loud explosion. Actually we were shocked because usually when it happens, just one area will experience those happenings after an explosion, but this time it was all of Beirut, even areas outside of Beirut." At this time there is no word on how much damage has actually been done to the city, but it is reported to be quite devastating.