Lebanon: Beirut-Port Explosion, Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRLB009

Situation Report
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A. Situation Overview

Description of the disaster

On 4 August 2020, at 6 p.m. local time, a massive explosion blasted in the Beirut port area, as a giant orange mushroom cloud rose above the capital, causing an enormous shock wave that rippled through greater Beirut and surrounding areas, extending up to Bekaa area.

The sound of the explosion could be heard as far away as the island of Cyprus, located in the Mediterranean Sea 240 km away. According to the Jordanian Seismological Observatory, the explosion was equivalent to a 4.5 magnitude earthquake. The blast flattened the city's port, surrounding structures and infrastructures have been fully damaged and partially damaged on a further radius, many buildings have collapsed or at risk of collapsing, roads blocked due to fallen debris and open cracks in the ground, mass destruction of vehicles all over the city, shattered glass has been reported miles away from the blast, as glass pieces scattered by the pressure deeply injuring and wounding thousands of people.

The cause of the blast remains unclear, but initial reports claims it started with a fire in a firework storage, which extended to high-flammable and explosive material stored in one of the many port warehouses causing a massive explosion that shook the entire city and surrounding areas, numbers of people killed and injured is yet to be defined, yet initial assessments reports indicate more than 135 people were killed and an additional 5,000 people were injured, 20 people reported missing and 300,000 estimated people homeless. Scores more remain missing.

Army helicopters and civil defence continue to put down the flaming fires and open the streets. Emergency Shelters are also prepared to receive the displaced people in schools and other structures as many houses have been partially and fully destroyed.

Hours later, the Lebanese Red Cross country wide branches remain on full alert responding with their ambulance services transporting the wounded to overwhelmed health facilities, reaching injured with first aid posts on site, and full activation of all blood banks.