Beirut port blast crater 43 metres deep: Security official

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Aug 09, 2020, 04.02 PM(IST)

Beirut blasts Photograph:( Reuters )

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The blast has injured at least 6,000 and has destroyed or damaged homes of over 300,000. 

The massive chemical explosion in Beirut has left a 43-metre (141 foot) deep crater, a security official said on Sunday. 

Also read Beirut's accidental cargo: How an unscheduled port visit led to disaster

The blast that killed over 150 people was felt across the country and was heard as far as Cyprus. According to the American Institute of Geophysics (USGS), the blast had a power of a magnitude 3.3 earthquake. 

According to the authorities, the explosion was caused after a fire broke out in the port warehouse which had a huge shipment of ammonium nitrate, the chemical normally used for fertilisers and also making explosives. 

The blast has injured at least 6,000 and has destroyed or damaged homes of over 300,000. 

The anger over Tuesday's explosion rose after the revelation that a large shipment of dangerous ammonium nitrate fertiliser had been stored for years in a warehouse.

Also read: Anti-government protests break out in Beirut; security forces fire tear gas

However, it remains unclear how the shipment caught fire.

"The explosion in the port left a crater 43 meters deep," the Lebanese security official told AFP, citing assessments by French experts working in the disaster area.

According to an international tribunal investigating his murder, the crater caused by the explosion was larger than the one left by the enormous blast in 2005 that killed former prime minister Rafic Hariri. 

Teams from France, Russia, Germany, Italy and other countries are still carrying out rescue work near the site of the explosion. 

The deadly blast has further deteriorated the already battering economic situation of Lebanon and led to several international aids.

(Inputs from AFP)