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World extends aid as Beirut seeks missing after massive deadly blast

Weedah Hamzah, DPA on

Published in News & Features

BEIRUT -- The world extended condolences and aid to Lebanon on Wednesday as rescue workers searched for people missing under collapsed buildings, a day after a massive blast at the port of Beirut killed at least 100 people and injured thousands.

Lebanon woke up to scenes of overwhelming destruction at Beirut's port and surrounding areas, with hospitals damaged and straining to treat patients.

Ruined cars lined the main highway, apartment buildings were surrounded by shattered glass, and some people slept overnight without windows.

Some 4,000 suffered injuries, many of them moderate to serious wounds, the Lebanese Red Cross said.

"There are many people still covered under the rubble," a civil defense official told dpa.

Marwan Abboud, Beirut's governor, said that between 200,000 and 250,000 people have become homeless due to the explosion and authorities are working on providing them with food, water and shelter.

 

The government is still investigating the cause of the explosion, but the internal security chief said the area was housing highly explosive materials.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab said on Tuesday the blast was due to around 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse in Beirut's port for the last six years without safety measures.

The chemical is usually used as fertilizers for agriculture, but can also be used in mining explosives.

Diab vowed to punish the people responsible for the blasts.

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