Irish citizens urged to 'shelter in place' after Beirut explosion

Irish citizens in Lebanon are being urged to shelter in place until they can move safely, followi...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.49 4 Aug 2020

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Irish citizens urged to 'shelt...

Irish citizens urged to 'shelter in place' after Beirut explosion

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.49 4 Aug 2020

Share this article

Irish citizens in Lebanon are being urged to shelter in place until they can move safely, following a massive explosion in the capital Beirut.

People are also advised to follow the instructions of Lebanese authorities.

At least 50 people have been killed and 2,700 more injured, according to the country's health minister.


In a statement, President Michael D Higgins said: "On behalf of the people of Ireland, may I extend deepest sympathies with the people of Beirut.

"Ireland and Lebanon have a longstanding relationship, which has included the presence of Irish troops on peacekeeping missions, and valuable relationships with villages and communities in Lebanon.

"On the occasion of my official visit to Lebanon last October, I was happy to have the opportunity to deepen that relationship.

"The hearts of the Irish people are with the Lebanese people.

"Sabina and I send our condolences to those who have lost loved ones or have otherwise been affected by the disaster."

George Kettan, head of Lebanon's Red Cross, said there are victims "everywhere - in all the streets and areas near and far" from the blast.

Footage posted on social media showed the moment a building several storeys high exploded, sending a vast shockwave across the city that was heard and felt as far away as Cyprus - more than 200km away.

Pictures also showed a scene of devastation with cars upturned and emergency crews gathered around the gutted building.

The explosion appeared to be centred around the city's port area containing warehouses, and rippled through several areas of the capital.

Lebanon's Internal Security Chief Abbas Ibrahim said it happened in a building containing highly-explosive materials, according to news agency NNA.

Earlier reports had suggested the building was a fireworks storage warehouse.

Witnesses said a number of people were injured during the widespread destruction across the city, with residents reporting collapsed ceilings and shattered windows.

Beirut The facade of a building is seen shattered following a massive explosion in Beirut's port area in Lebanon. Picture by: Marwan Naamani/DPA/PA Images

A huge column of smoke was seen rising over the city following the explosion.

Wounded people were seen on the ground near Beirut's port, according to a photographer at the scene.

Local media also reported one hospital has declared it cannot take any more patients and was appealing for blood donations.

The cause of the blast, which happened just after 6.00pm local time (3.00pm GMT), was not immediately clear.

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab has called for a day of mourning on Wednesday.

Beirut People evacuate a wounded woman after a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. Picture by: Hassan Ammar/AP/Press Association Images

A local man, Fady Roumieh, was in the car park of a shopping centre around 2km east of the blast.

He said: "[It was] like a nuclear bomb. The damage is so widespread and severe all over the city.

"Some buildings as far as 2km are partially collapsed. It's like a war zone. The damage is extreme. Not one glass window intact."

The explosion comes as Lebanon experiences its worst economic and financial crisis in decades.

It also comes amid rising tensions between Israel and the militant Hezbollah group along Lebanon's southern border.

Additional reporting: IRN

Main image: Pink smoke rises following the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. The two huge explosions that rocked Lebanon's capital on Tuesday left dozens dead and injured. Picture by: unreguser/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

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