A massive explosion in Lebanon's capital, Beirut, has reportedly killed 10 people and left dozens injured. According to CNN, the explosion's source was believed to be caused by a fire in a warehouse that was being used to store fireworks. However, the official cause of the fire appears to still be under investigation by authorities.
The explosion reportedly shattered windows in buildings across the city, with Beirut resident Rania Masri describing 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." A report from the BBC notes that the casualties were so vast that hospitals are overwhelmed. Hamad Hassan, Lebanon's health minister, has since issued a statement and confirmed the many injuries caused by the blast.
A huge explosion near the center of Beirut killed at least 10 people and sent shockwaves across the Lebanese capital, shattering glass in people's homes and causing apartment balconies to collapse. Live video from the scene: https://t.co/oTzPd8rPQX 📷 Mohamed Azakir pic.twitter.com/QpJpqSWBXA— Reuters Pictures (@reuterspictures) August 4, 2020
An eyewitness to the fire and explosion, Hadi Nasrallah, spoke with the BBC and told the outlet, "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 continued, "Literally all over Beirut, people were calling each other from different areas kilometers 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." BBC Arab affairs analyst, Sebastian Usher, added, "The videos and images not just of the massive cloud of smoke erupting in Beirut but the damage and devastation it's caused kilometres away have triggered a new wave of shock and anxiety in Lebanon, which is already teetering on the brink of a catastrophic economic collapse."