The death toll in the explosion that rocked Beirut, capital of Lebanon, has risen to 100 with more than 4,000 injured.
George Kettaneh, the head of the Lebanese Red Cross, said the toll is expected to rise as officials dig through the rubbles caused by the explosion.
He added that the Red Cross was coordinating with the country’s ministry of health for mortuaries to take victims because hospitals were overwhelmed.
A massive explosion rocked a part of the city on Tuesday, causing widespread damage as far as the outskirts of the capital. Buildings were shattered while cars were seen tumbling.
Officials linked the blast to about 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that were being stored in a warehouse at the port since they were confiscated six years ago.
Marwan Abboud, Beirut governor, said between 200,000 and 250,000 people had lost their homes while hospitals are overwhelmed.
“We lost 10 members of the Beirut Fire Brigade and damages range between 3 [billion] and 5 billion dollars and maybe more,” local media quoted him as saying.
The governor also revealed that a security report from 2014 warned of the possibility of an explosion in Lebanon’s capital as highly explosive materials were not stored in a way to ensure public safety.
In a broadcast, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, said it was unacceptable that the explosives were stored at the port without safety measures, vowing to ensure justice for victims.
Diab appealed to all countries and friends of Lebanon to help his country which is battling an economic crisis.
“We are witnessing a real catastrophe,” he said.
Hospitals in the city are said to have asked people with non-life-threatening injuries to stay at home because they are overwhelmed.
Several hospitals were also damaged in the explosion and with some running out of key medical supplies while medical staff at a facility were forced to treat patients in a car park.