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'The Scale of the Disaster Is Immense' in Beirut

At least 100 dead, 4K wounded in Lebanon blast
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2020 12:25 AM CDT
Updated Aug 5, 2020 6:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – "The scale of the disaster is immense" in Beirut, Lebanon, the Guardian reports. The death toll in the massive explosion that rocked the capital Tuesday night, causing blocks of devastation, currently stands at at least 100, the AP reports, with another 4,000 injured—and many still missing. TV and radio presenters in the country read out the names of the missing all night long. Officials say the detonation of ammonium nitrate that was being stored at a port is to blame and that initial information does not suggest it was an attack. US President Trump had referred to it as such, but US officials who spoke anonymously say they're not sure where he got that information. Video of the blast (warning: disturbing content) appears to show a fire burning before the explosion.

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Several hospitals were among the many buildings damaged in the blast, which was felt up to 120 miles away, and unconfirmed reports say at least six medical workers are among the dead; 10 firefighters are also reportedly among the missing. Medical facilities were already struggling to keep adequate supplies on hand due to the country's economic crisis, and are now faced with an influx of patients; meanwhile, search and rescue efforts were hampered by power outages. Per CNN, Lebanon's PM claims the ammonium nitrate was being kept in a warehouse without adequate safety measures, and said an investigation will be carried out. See images of the devastation here. (Read more Beirut stories.)

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