Tue | Oct 27, 2020

Lebanese government declares two-week emergency following massive deadly explosion

Published:Wednesday | August 5, 2020 | 10:24 AM
A man stands in a damaged apartment as he looks out at the scene of a massive explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, August 5, 2020. Residents of Beirut awoke to a scene of utter devastation on Wednesday, a day after a massive explosion at the port sent shock waves across the Lebanese capital, killing at least 100 people and wounding thousands. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

BEIRUT (AP) — The Lebanese government has declared a two-week state of emergency, effectively giving the military full powers during this time after a massive explosion devastated the capital, Beirut.

The government announced the measure during a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.

It said it was putting an unspecified number of Beirut port officials under house arrest pending an investigation into how 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate came to be stored at the port for years.

The move comes amid speculation that negligence was to blame for the explosion that killed more than 100 people.

The World Health Organization says it is airlifting medical supplies to Lebanon to cover up to 1,000 trauma interventions and up to 1,000 surgical interventions following the explosion in Beirut.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said supplies airlifted from a “humanitarian hub” in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates would be used to treat burns and wounds caused by broken glass and other debris from the explosion.

The airlift follows a request from the Lebanese health minister, and the supplies were expected to arrive in Lebanon later Wednesday.

Jasarevic said in an email that the WHO will “stand ready to also provide other urgent support.”

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