The death toll following the Beirut Explosion on Tuesday continues to climb. Authorities say 73 people died from the blast in the Lebanon capital.
The blast took place at a Beirut port. Earlier on Tuesday, Health Minister Hamad Hassan says 2,750 sustained injuries in the explosion.
Video of the incident shows small explosions like fireworks going off before causing a massive eruption. Some authorities blame the blast on highly explosive materials stored in a warehouse for six years, BBC reports. However, an investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of the explosion.
One witness near the port described the devastation. “All the buildings around here have collapsed. I’m walking through glass and debris everywhere, in the dark,” the witness tells AFP.
Sunniva Rose, a BBC journalist described the horrifying scene. “There was still smoke going up into the sky late into the evening,” Rose says. “The whole city was black. It was very hard to walk around, people were covered in blood. I saw an 86-year-old woman being treated by a doctor who had just run out of his home with a first aid kit. Cars were entirely smashed by rocks. These old-style houses with big cuts of rock had just fallen down on the street.”
Following the explosion, Lebanon’s prime minister, Hassan Diab, requested aid from other countries. “I make an urgent appeal to friendly and brotherly countries… to stand by Lebanon and to help us heal our deep wounds,” Diab said.
Reports of toxic gases in the blast area also recently surfaced. The US Embassy in Beirut urges those in the area of the explosion to “stay indoors and wear masks if available.” Furthermore, the Embassy requests that US citizens in the area “contact their loved ones directly and/or update their status on social media.”