The massive warehouse blast that killed at least 100 in Beirut has also left up to 300,000 people homeless, the city’s governor said Wednesday — comparing the devastation to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“I think there are between 250,000 and 300,000 people who are now without homes,” governor Marwan Abboud told Agence France-Presse, estimating the damage to be $5 billion.
“It resembles to what happened in Japan, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” destroyed by atomic bombs dropped on them by the US in World War II. “That’s what [it] reminds me of,” he said after the Tuesday explosion, according to CNN.
“In my life, I haven’t seen destruction on this scale,” he said.
Abboud had tears in his eyes as he told reporters it was a “national calamity,” Morocco World News said.
“This is a disaster for Lebanon,” the governor said through his tears. “We need to remain strong, we need to hold on and be brave … but this is too much …”
Beirut’s mayor, Jamal Itani, said he was “speechless” at the scenes of devastation. “It’s like a war zone,” he said.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun called for an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday and said a two-week state of emergency should be declared, according to Aljazeera.
He warned that the death toll would likely rise from the 100 so far reported dead, with at least another 4,000 injured so far.
At least 10 firefighters who raced to tackle the blast are still missing, Abboud told CNN, as hospitals are overwhelmed by casualties.
Pope Francis on Tuesday also offered his prayers Wednesday during his weekly General Audience from the library of the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City, CNN said.
International aid is heading to Beirut, with Poland sending a team of about 50 firefighters, including 39 rescuers with 4 dogs and a chemical rescue module. A Greek military transport plane is heading to Lebanon with a search and rescue team with specialized equipment and a sniffer dog, while Cyprus says it will be sending help.
Russia’s emergency officials said the country will send five planeloads of aid to Beirut after an explosion in the Lebanese capital’s port killed at least 100 people and injured thousands on Tuesday.
Along with rescuers, medical workers, and a makeshift hospital, it will also send a lab for coronavirus testing, Russia said.
France, Jordan and other countries also said aid would be sent.
Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi told a local TV station that it appeared the blast was caused by the detonation of more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored in a warehouse at the dock ever since it was confiscated from a cargo ship in 2014. It sent a mushroom cloud into the sky and rattled windows on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, about 100 miles away.
President Trump said Tuesday US officials fear it may have been an “attack.”
With Post wires
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