Death toll from Beirut blast rises to more than 70, says health minister

Wednesday, 2020-08-05 09:07:06
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Smoke rises from the site of an explosion in Beirut's port area, Lebanon August 4, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
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Lebanon's health minister told Reuters that the death toll from a massive explosion in the capital Beirut on Tuesday (August 4) had reached 78, adding that nearly 4,000 people had been injured.

"There are many people missing until now. People are asking the emergency department about their loved ones and it is difficult to search at night because there is no electricity," minister Hamad Hasan told Reuters. "We are facing a real catastrophe and need time to assess the extent of damages."

The minister earlier said in televised remarks that more than 70 people had been killed.

Earlier of the day, Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that those responsible for an explosion at a "dangerous" warehouse in Beirut port area that rocked the capital would pay the price.

"I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability. ... Those responsible will pay the price," he said in a televised speech. "Facts about this dangerous warehouse that has been there since 2014 will be announced and I will not preempt the investigations".