Devastation in Lebanon – World leaders send condolences as more than 70 dead and 3,700 wounded

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A massive explosion and a serious shock wave shook the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Tuesday. Emergency workers are responding to extensive damages and a high number of casualties.

Videos of the huge blast, the cause of which is still unclear, quickly surfaced on social media.

The blast appears to have been centered on the city’s port area. State-run National News Agency reported that the source of the explosion was initially believed to be a major fire at a warehouse in the area.

Large numbers of people were wounded in the blast, authorities said, and footage from the scene captured the injured staggering through streets in the capital. The country’s health minister ordered all hospitals in the area to prepare to receive injuries.

It’s reported that homes as far as 10 kilometres away were damaged. One Beirut resident who was several kilometres away from the site of the blast said her windows had been shattered by the explosion.

The cause of the explosion is still unclear.

International response

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison sent his condolences to the people of Beirut, confirming that one Australian is among the 73 people killed and 3700 injured.

“It’s my deep regret to inform you that one Australian has been killed in this horrific blast, we obviously can’t confirm details of that at this stage because there’s contacts with families and others,” Mr Morrison said.

“But our hearts go out to all of those in Lebanon and in Beirut in particular at the moment, you can see from the images of the blasts that it’s just absolutely devastating.”

Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis also expressed his condolences and offered a hand out to the people of Lebanon.

“On behalf of the Greek people, I want to express my deepest condolences to the people of Lebanon, especially to the families who have suffered losses, and wish a speedy recovery to the wounded. Our thoughts are with you.”

Australian Embassy hit hard

Foreign Minister Marise Payne confirmed on Wednesday that “several” staff were injured by shattered glass as 95 per cent of the building’s windows were blown in.

Payne said the Australian Embassy had sustained considerable damage from the blast.

“Staff have been affected by a number of glass injuries,” she told ABC radio.

At least 73 people were killed in the blast, which damaged the Australian embassy and left injured residents climbing from the rubble of their homes. Credit: CNN

“Fortunately, they are relatively minor and they have all been treated.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the scenes as “incredibly distressing” as he confirmed the death of an Australian citizen.

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