The ripples of the Beirut blast were so huge that in Cyprus, an island lying 240 km west of Lebanon, residents reported two large bangs in quick succession.
The impact of the blast that ripped through Lebanon’s capital Beirut on Tuesday was so powerful that citizens of the island of Cyprus, 240 kms away from the site of the explosion felt it.
In Cyprus, an island lying west of Lebanon, residents reported two large bangs in quick succession. Videos confirmed that the Beirut blast could be seen from the coast of Cyprus and was heard as far as inland capital Nicosia.
Reports: sound of Beirut Port explosion was heard in Cyprus, 234km from the area of the explosion pic.twitter.com/dLniJweVR3
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) August 4, 2020
One resident of the capital Nicosia said his house shook, rattling shutters. Another Nicosia citizen said he thought something fell on the building where he works. Several other people said they heard it as far as the mountainous region of Troodos.
I heard this from Cyprus!
At first I thought it was thunder, then assumed it must be the nearby Army base bombing range.
I’m on the south east coast, lots of people heard it here. I always forget how close Cyprus is to Lebanon etc across the water. https://t.co/41MKnGgR8d
— Kevin D Mackay (@KevinDMackay) August 4, 2020
BBC journalist Emilia Papadopoulos said she felt the explosion in Limassol and thought it was an earthquake. “We felt two blasts in Limassol. Thought it was an earthquake but only our windows were shaking. Thoughts with everyone in Beirut,” she wrote on Twitter.
We felt two blasts in Limassol. Thought it was an earthquake but only our windows were shaking. Thoughts with everyone in Beirut.
— Emilia Papadopoulos (@emiliapaps) August 4, 2020
A massive explosion rocked downtown Beirut on Tuesday, flattening much of the port, damaging buildings and blowing out windows and doors as a giant mushroom cloud rose above the capital.
— East Coast Radio (@ecr9495) August 4, 2020
Lebanese Red Cross official Georges Kettaneh said there were dead and wounded, but did not have an exact figure, just saying there were hundreds of casualties.
It was stunning even for a city that has been shaken by civil war, suicide bombings and bombardment by Israel.
Lebanon’s internal security chief Abbas Ibrahim said that a massive blast in Beirut’s port area occurred in a section housing highly-explosive materials.
Miles from the port, balconies were knocked down, windows shattered, streets were covered with glass and bricks and lined with wrecked cars. Motorcyclists picked their way through traffic, carrying the injured.
The blast came at a time when Lebanon’s economy is facing collapse, hit both by a financial crisis and coronavirus restrictions. Many have lost jobs, while the worth of their savings has evaporated as the currency has plunged in value against the dollar. The result has thrown many into poverty.
It also comes amid rising tensions between Israel and the militant Hezbollah group along Lebanon’s southern border.