The Governor of Beirut has said that 300,000 people have been left homeless after an enormous explosion tore across the city, killing at least a hundred people and wounding thousands.
Marwan Abboud added that around half of the city had been damaged by the explosion, amid warnings that the death toll was likely to raise far beyond 100, with many victims still trapped under rubble.
It also emerged on Wednesday afternoon that 85 per cent of grain stocks in Lebanon, which relies heavily on food imports, were destroyed. This would suggest the country only has enough grain to last for another month.
The Lebanese government announced it would be placing all those it held responsible for the port of Beirut under house arrest while their investigation continues.
Smoke continued to rise over the flattened port area, while in the city some people were still searching for missing loved ones. At least 4,000 people were wounded, overwhelming hospitals.
The death toll could rise further, the head of the Lebanese Red Cross George Kettaneh said.
The cause of the blast remains unclear, though Lebanese leaders said it was likely down to explosive substances that had been stored at warehouses in the port for years.
Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi told local media the blast was likely triggered by more than 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate. The industrial chemical, used for fertiliser, had been stored at a warehouse at the dock since it was unloaded from a seized cargo ship in 2014, he said.
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Just like the Texas City explosion back in the late 40’s. That blast was like 2300 tons of ammonium nitrate.