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Beirut blast death toll rises to 171: health ministry

The blast killed over a hundred [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 August, 2020

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The death toll of the Beirut blast has risen to 171, according to a spokesperson for the health ministry.

The death toll from Beirut's massive August 4 explosion has climbed to 171, a health ministry spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.

The new figure, up from 160, came exactly one week since the mega-blast ravaged swathes of the Lebanese capital, wounding more than 6,000 and temporarily displacing 300,000 people from their homes.

The massive Beirut blast on Tuesday, which was felt across the county and as far as the island of Cyprus, was recorded by the sensors of the American Institute of Geophysics (USGS) as having the power of a magnitude 3.3 earthquake.

Read more: Lebanon blast: political game changer or hollow blow?

It was triggered by a fire in a port warehouse, where a huge shipment of hazardous ammonium nitrate, a chemical that can be used as a fertiliser or as an explosive, had languished for years, according to authorities.

The huge blast also wounded at least 6,000 people and displaced more than 300,000 from their destroyed or damaged homes. 

The revelation that the chemicals had languished for years like a ticking time-bomb in the heart of the capital has served as shocking proof to many Lebanese of the rot at the core of the state apparatus.

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