Multiple outlets are reporting a large explosion in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon.
Twitter videos posted Tuesday appeared to show a massive blast near Beirut’s port, one of the busiest in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Associated Press reported “widespread destruction” and casualties, but the full scope of the damage wasn’t immediately clear.
— Timour Azhari (@timourazhari) August 4, 2020
According to the country’s health minister, the blast left scores of casualties and inflicted severe damage on the city.
LEBANON'S HEALTH MINISTER SAYS VERY HIGH NUMBER OF INJURIES AND LARGE DAMAGE FROM EXPLOSION IN BEIRUT - LBC TV
— *Walter Bloomberg (@DeItaOne) August 4, 2020
“I have never in my life seen disaster this big, this grand, this catastrophic,” said Beiruit’s governor, Marwan Abboud, before he broke down crying. “This is a national catastrophe. This a disaster for Lebanon. We don’t know how we’re going to recover from this. … We need to stay strong and we need to be courageous, but this, our people have been through so much.”
Photos and videos taken in the immediate aftermath showed injured civilians and destroyed buildings. People reported feeling the blast from as far away as Cyprus, which is hundreds of miles from Lebanon.
Lebanon’s health care system is already being outstretched by chronic underfunding and a surge in coronavirus cases. Doctors and nurses had already warned of a shortage of medical supplies, including anesthesia drugs and sutures, the AP reported last week. The American University of Beirut Medical Center, one of the most prestigious hospitals in the Middle East, laid off hundreds of workers in recent weeks.
Some injured people were turned away...