Beirut: Lebanon’s cabinet declared a two-week state of emergency in the capital city and handed control of security in the capital to the military following a massive explosion in Beirut that killed at least 135 people and injured 5,000 others.
Officials said they expect the death toll to rise further as emergency workers dig through the rubble to search for survivors.
Beirut’s city governor Marwan Abboud said up to 300,000 people have lost their homes and authorities are working on providing them with food, water and shelter.
The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear. Officials linked the blast to some 2,750 tonnes of confiscated ammonium nitrate that were being stored in a warehouse at the port for six years.
Lebanon’s diaspora, estimated at nearly three times the size of the tiny country’s population of five million, has stepped up to provide assistance following the massive explosion that laid waste to the capital Beirut.
Lebanese expats rushed to wire money to loved ones who lost their homes or were injured in the blast on Tuesday that killed at least 135 people, while others worked to create special funds to address the tragedy.
A Turkish military plane carrying aid and a search and rescue team arrived in Beirut, authorities announced.Aid material prepared by the Turkish ministry of health, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) was loaded on a plane from Ankara.
The aircraft was carrying 21 National Medical Rescue personnel, two emergency units, three tents, medicine and medical equipment, 10 AFAD personnel, equipment, a search and rescue vehicle, three Kizilay personnel, a search and rescue team and medical and humanitarian aid.
AFAD President Mehmet Gulluoglu said more aid and emergency medical doctors will be on their way to Beirut.