Disasters & Accidents

Death toll rises one month after Beirut port explosion

Beirut, Sep 4 (efe-epa).- The number of deaths from the Beirut port explosion rose to 191 on Friday as the country commemorates the tragedy a month later.

A minute of silence was called across Lebanon at 6.07pm local time, the moment the blast struck on 4 August, to honor the victims.

It came as the death toll rose to 191, with more than 6,500 injured and at least three people still missing, an anonymous health official told Efe.

Lebanon’s army said in a statement on Twitter: “We will observe a minute’s silence as a sign of mourning for the souls of the victims and with the intention that the wounded will recover, coinciding with the ringing of the church bells, the call to pray in the mosques and the suspension of passage around the port.”

The catastrophe struck when 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored in the port for six years exploded, leaving around 300,000 people homeless.

It also caused the resignation of Hasan Diab and his government, with Mustafa Adib assuming the role of prime minister this week.Adib now faces the unenviable task of getting Lebanon out of one of the worst crises in its history.

The damage caused by the explosion was predicted to be $4.6 billion by the World Bank on Monday, a far lower figure than that offered by Lebanese President Michel Aoun.

It came as Unicef urged Lebanese authorities to get Beirut’s children back into their school studies as soon as possible, either remotely or in person.

Yukie Mokuo, Unicef Lebanon representative, said in a statement: “When disasters hit, education can provide a vital lifeline to children whose lives have been turned upside down, providing a safe-space when in school and a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos.

“We are incredibly concerned by the substantial damage sustained by schools in the hardest-hit neighborhoods and the impact this could have for children.

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