On Tuesday, Lebanon's capital, Beirut, was rocked by a massive explosion that has resulted in multiple casualties and even more injuries. With emergency response teams currently on the ground, Beirut’s governor, Marwan Abboud, broke down into tears while discussing the scene with reporters.
Beirut governor is literally crying while talking about the explosions, who likens them to Nagasaki and Hiroshima attacks pic.twitter.com/YPHqd1Sq2d— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) August 4, 2020
Speaking with smoke billowing behind him, Abboud grew emotional as he addressed the explosion, which he likened to the nuclear attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima during World War II. While current reports have suggested that the explosion may have been the result of a fire that broke out at a warehouse housing "highly explosive material," Abboud said that they "don't know" yet what officially caused the blast. He confirmed that "there was a fire" and that a team of firefighters "came to put it out, then the explosion happened and they went missing. We are looking for them. "At this time, at least 10 firefighters are missing, according to CNN.
"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 added of the aftermath of the explosion, which reportedly blew out windows nearby. "This is a national catastrophe."
At this time, much remains unknown regarding the blast, which was centered on the city's port area. According to CNN, the explosion caused damage to homes as far away as six miles (10 km), with one resident who lives several miles from the center of the blast stating that her windows were shattered. Bachar Ghattas, an eyewitness, said that the scene was "like an apocalypse" and that "you can see injured people all over the streets in Beirut, glass all over the place, cars are damaged." Ghattas told CNN's Becky Anderson that "Beirut port is totally destroyed."
Authorities have confirmed that "large numbers" of people were injured in the blast and at least 10 people have been reported dead. Officials have not yet released official counts, though Lebanese Red Cross official Georges Kettaneh said "there have been hundreds of casualties, both dead and wounded," according to the Daily Mail. Hospitals have been told to prepare to receive injuries.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has since ordered armed military patrols in the capital city to ensure security. Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, meanwhile, declared Wednesday a day of national morning.