Lebanon Middle East World News

Beirut explosion: Death toll rises to 200 as protests continue

More than 200 people are believed to have been killed by Tuesday’s devastating explosion in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, its governor has said.

Marwan Abboud said dozens were still missing, many of them foreign workers.

The army has meanwhile called off the rescue phase of its search operation at the port, the epicentre of the blast.

On Sunday there was a second night of violence in the city, as police clashed with protesters angry with the government’s response to the disaster.

The resignation of a cabinet minister and several MPs has failed to quell the fury.

Since the explosion, hundreds of thousands of people have been living in severely damaged homes, many without windows or doors. 

UN agencies have warned of a humanitarian crisis unless food and medical aid are delivered immediately.

International donors pledged $297m (£227m) in aid for Lebanon at a virtual summit on Sunday hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron. 

They said the funds had to be “directly delivered to the Lebanese population”.

Lebanese authorities have said the blast was the result of the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been stored unsafely at the port for six years.

The decision to keep so much explosive material in a warehouse near the city centre has been met with disbelief and fury by many Lebanese, who have long accused the political elite of corruption, neglect and mismanagement.

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