Lebanon is in mourning as the death toll of the huge blasts which took place in Beirut Port on Tuesday hit 100, with thousands others have been injured and many others are still missing.
” Until now over 4,000 people have been injured and over 100 have lost their lives. Our teams are still conducting search and rescue operations in the surrounding areas,” the Lebanese Red Cross added in a statement on Wednesday.
“What we are witnessing is a huge catastrophe. There are victims and casualties everywhere,” local media quoted the head of Lebanon’s Red Cross George Kettani.
Rescue workers dug through the rubble overnight looking for survivors of the massive warehouse explosion that devastated many parts of Beirut.
Hospitals were still overrun with wounded people and others searching for loved ones, with pages springing up online listing pictures of the missing and begging for information of their whereabouts.
Beirut governor Marwan Abboud told a local radio station that more than 100 people remain missing, including several firefighters. “Beirut has never gone through what it went through yesterday,” he said.
President Michel Aoun said 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate had been stored unsafely in a warehouse for six years.
He scheduled an urgent cabinet meeting for Wednesday, and said a two-week state of emergency should be declared.
The country will observe an official period of mourning for three days from Wednesday.
President Aoun also announced that the government would release 100 billion lira (£50.5m; $66m) of emergency funds.
The Higher Defense Council held an urgent session late Tuesday, in which he declared Beirut a devastated city.