President Uhuru Kenyatta sends his condolences following Beirut blast


President Uhuru Kenyatta sends his condolences following Beirut blast
Smoke rises from the site of an explosion in Beirut, Lebanon August 4, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

President Uhuru Kenyatta has sent a message of solidarity and encouragement to President Michel Aoun and the People of the Lebanese Republic following Tuesday’s devastating blast in Beirut.

President Kenyatta expressed Kenya’s sympathy for the Lebanese people and wished them God’s comfort as they come to terms with the regrettable destruction of their iconic capital city.

According to Lebanese State media, rescue workers dug through the rubble looking for survivors of a powerful warehouse explosion that shook the capital Beirut, killing at least 78 people and injuring nearly 4,000 in a toll that officials expected to rise.

Tuesday’s blast at port warehouses storing highly explosive material was the most powerful in years in Beirut, already reeling from an economic crisis and a surge in coronavirus infections.

President Michel Aoun said that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilisers and bombs, had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures, and he said that was “unacceptable”.

He called for an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Officials did not say what caused the blaze that set off the blast. A security source and local media said it was started by welding work being carried out on a hole in the warehouse.

“What we are witnessing is a huge catastrophe,” the head of Lebanon’s Red Cross George Kettani told broadcaster Mayadeen. “There are victims and casualties everywhere.”

Additional reporting by Reuters

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