Beirut, Lebanon was the scene of a catastrophe on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, as a massive explosion rocked the Lebanese capital
Beirut, Lebanon (CNN) – A massive explosion ripped through central Beirut on Tuesday, injuring hundreds of people and blowing out windows in buildings across the city.
The blast near the port in the Lebanese capital sent up a huge mushroom cloud-shaped shockwave, flipping over cars and damaging buildings miles away.
An “uncountable” number of people were wounded by the blast, and footage from the scene captured the injured staggering through streets in the capital. One eyewitness described the scenes as “like an apocalypse.”
There were conflicting reports on what caused the explosion, which was initially blamed on a major fire at a warehouse for firecrackers near the port. The director of the general security directorate later said the blast was caused by confiscated “high explosive materials,” but did not provide further details.
A red cloud hung over the city in the wake of the explosion as firefighting teams rushed to the scene to try to put out the fire. At least 10 firefighters were missing, according to the city’s governor Marwan Abboud, who said the scene reminded him of “Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
He said that never in his life has he seen destruction on this scale and that this is a national catastrophe.”
Chaotic scenes filled Beirut’s hospitals as doctors conducted triage on dozens of wounded people. Some had broken limbs, others had been showered with shards of glass. Some patients were unconscious.
One of Beirut’s major hospitals, Hotel Dieu, received around 400 injured patients.
The blast damaged buildings across the city, including the official residence of Lebanon’s president, the headquarters of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and CNN’s bureau in downtown Beirut. Homes as far as 10 kilometers away were damaged, according to witnesses.