The Guardian, The Guardian, by Oliver Holmes, Helen Sullivan, and Rebecca Ratcliffe:
Here are the main developments:
• The Lebanese government has declared a two-week state of emergency after two huge explosions on Tuesday killed at least 135 people and injured around 5,000.
• Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the cause of the explosion was 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a common industrial chemical used in fertiliser and as a component in mining explosives.
• An initial investigation has reportedly found years of inaction and “negligence” around the removal of the ammonium nitrate is to blame for the blast.
• The European Union has activated its civil protection system to round up emergency workers and equipment from member states. Governments worldwide have sent support, including Kuwait, Norway and Australia.
• Beirut’s governor, Marwan Abboud, has said the damage from the port blast has extended over half of the city, with the cost of damage likely above $3bn.
• Rescuers continue to search for victims who remain trapped under rubble. In one video shared on Wednesday, a search team can be heard clapping and cheering as a survivor is pulled to safety.
• Residents, desperate to reach their loved ones, have been sharing pictures of missing relatives, as well as phone numbers online.
• Hospitals, several of which were damaged in the blast, have been inundated with patients. In the Gemmayze district, medical teams were forced to triage patients in a car park, while the Red Cross said it is coordinating with the Lebanese health ministry to set up morgues.
“The restraining Spirit of God is even now being withdrawn from the world. Hurricanes, storms, tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, follow each other in quick succession. Science seeks to explain all these. The signs thickening around us, telling of the near approach of the Son of God, are attributed to any other than the true cause. Men cannot discern the sentinel angels restraining the four winds that they shall not blow until the servants of God are sealed; but when God shall bid His angels loose the winds, there will be such a scene of strife as no pen can picture.” Testimonies, Vol. 6, page 408.1.