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Death toll climbing after Port of Beirut explosion

Neighborhoods reportedly unrecognizable following blast that has killed more than 50 people

The explosion in a warehouse devastated the Port of Beirut in Lebanon on Tuesday. (Image: European Space Imaging)

An estimated 4,000 people have been injured and more than 100 killed in a massive explosion at the Port of Beirut. 

CNN reported that the explosion, which occurred about 6 p.m. Tuesday in Lebanon’s capital, has caused buildings to collapse and that neighborhoods around the port are unrecognizable.

Rescue operations are ongoing and hospitals in Beirut reportedly are overwhelmed. The number of injured and killed is expected to climb. 

Lebanon’s National News Agency initially said the blast was believed to have been caused by fireworks stored in a warehouse. But CNN later reported Lebanese officials were blaming confiscated highly explosive material. 

The Port of Beirut has 12 warehouses, including one dedicated to hazardous goods, and the capacity to handle 745,000 twenty-foot equivalent units. 

Container operations at the port are subcontracted to the private Beirut Container Terminal Consortium. Its website was down Tuesday afternoon.

CMA CGM and MSC are among the major container carriers that call the Port of Beirut. 

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    1. Stefan

      Not really recently but back in 2013, there was a similar explosion in West Texas at at distribution/warehousing facility while emergency personnel were responding to an arson fire. Fifteen people were killed and 160 were injured. Unlike the Beirut port, this was in a rural area which explains the vast difference in casualties.

    2. JT

      The 1947 Texas City, TX disaster was an industrial accident that occurred on April 16, 1947, in the Port of Texas City, Texas, at Galveston Bay. It was the deadliest industrial accident in U.S. history, and one of history’s largest non-nuclear explosions.

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Kim Link Wills

Senior Editor Kim Link-Wills has written about everything from agriculture as a reporter for Illinois Agri-News to zoology as editor of the Georgia Tech Alumni Magazine. Her work has garnered awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Magazine Association of the Southeast. Prior to serving as managing editor of American Shipper, Kim spent more than four years with XPO Logistics.