Lebanon blast: Indian Embassy staff safe, in touch with Indian community members, says Envoy Suhel Azaz Khan
Indian Embassy in Lebanon is in touch with the Indian community after a massive explosion rocked capital Beirut on Tuesday, leaving many feared dead and a “considerable number of people” injured.
Indian envoy to Lebanon Suhel Ajaz Khan told ANI: “All our embassy staff are safe. We are in touch with Indian community members, so far there is no report of casualty. We are keeping a close watch and are in touch with community organisations. There is lot of damage to buildings in central Beirut.”
The Embassy has also shared its helpline numbers with the Indian community.
The National News Agency of Lebanon reported that a warehouse at the Beirut Port caught fire and lead to major explosions, which reverberated in the capital and the suburbs and left behind great damages to the surrounding buildings and a considerable number of wounded.
Dramatic images and videos on social media showed huge plumes of smoke billowing out of the site of the massive blast near Beirut’s port.
Local media showed people reporting shattering of glass windows of buildings and cars shaking.
Al Jazeera reported that the force of the blast was massive and it caused panic in the streets and pieces of glass were seen everywhere.
The daily quoted Hamad Hassan, Lebanon’s health minister saying hundreds were wounded in the explosion. It also quoted security sources put the initial death toll at 10 but medical and rescue teams on the ground said dozens were killed.
Several people on board an Italian ship docked near the explosion site, the Orient Queen, were wounded and taken to hospital.
Though the cause of the blast is unknown, the initial reports have stated that the explosion occurred in Beirut’s port area containing warehouses.
The blast comes ahead of a verdict on Friday by UN-backed panel on the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, who was killed in car bombing.