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Live Reporting

Victoria Bisset, Alice Cuddy, George Wright, Toby Luckhurst and Hugo Bachega

All times stated are UK

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  1. We're ending our live coverage

    We're wrapping up our live coverage of today's devastating explosion in Beirut.

    Politicians from across Lebanon's political spectrum have urged unity, while the international community has pledged its support to the country's government.

    For more updates on this story, please follow our story here.

  2. BreakingDeath toll rises to 73, more than 3,000 injured

    The death toll in today's explosion has risen to 73, Lebanon's health ministry has said, while 3,000 others have been injured.

    The meeting of the Higher Defence Council, chaired by President Michel Aoun, recommended that the government declare a two-week state of emergency in the capital Beirut in a cabinet session on Wednesday.

  3. German embassy staff injured

    Members of staff at Germany's embassy in Beirut were hurt in today's explosion, the German foreign ministry has confirmed.

    "We're shocked by the photos from Beirut. Colleagues at our embassy are also among the wounded," the embassy said in a message on Twitter.

    "Our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims. Germany stands with Lebanon in this difficult hour."

  4. PM: 'Unacceptable' that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate be in warehouse

    Lebanon's Prime Minsiter Hassan Diab has said it is "unacceptable" that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were being stored in a warehouse.

    "I will not rest until we find the person responsible for what happened so we can hold them to account and impose the most severe punishment," the prime minister was quoted as saying by an official Twitter account.

    "It is unacceptable that a shipment of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate has been present for six years in a warehouse, without taking preventive measures and endangering the safety of citizens".

  5. Watch: All hospitals in Beirut 'overwhelmed'

    Our colleague Carine Torbey is at a hospital in Beirut and says the health system is "overwhelmed".

    Video content

    Video caption: Beirut blast: Inside a Beirut hospital struggling to cope
  6. In pictures: Aftermath of blast

    These are some of the photos showing the chaos and destruction in Beirut after the blast.

    The statue of the Lebanese Emigrant stands intact in front of damaged buildings
    This picture taken on August 4, 2020 shows a general view of destruction along a street in the centre of Lebanon's capital Beirut,
    A man carries away an injured girl while walking through debris past in the Achrafiyeh district in the centre of Lebanon's capital Beirut on August 4
    A view of the damage after an explosion at the Beirut Port
  7. 'All of Beirut has been hit'

    Aftermath of Beirut blast

    Journalist Sunniva Rose in Beirut tells the BBC about the moments after the blast.

    "Driving into Beirut early evening when it was still light, it was absolute chaos. The streets were literally covered in glass, it's hard for ambulances to go through, there's bricks, cement slabs, houses have collapsed.

    "There was still smoke going up into the sky late into the evening. The whole city was black, it was very hard to walk around, people were covered in blood. I saw an 86-year-old woman being treated by a doctor who had just run out of his home with a first aid kit.

    "It's pandemonium in my own flat. All the glass is shattered, the extent of the damage is extreme. Even in a mall two kilometres away, the whole facade was shattered. The damage is not just the port, all of Beirut has been hit."

    View more on twitter
  8. Hezbollah urges unity in face of 'national tragedy'

    Lebanon's Hezbollah movement has called for national unity following today's explosion, which it described as a "great national tragedy".

    "This tragic catastrophe and the unprecendented damage it has created... require solidarity and unity from all Lebanese people, political forces and national actors," a statement from Hezbollah said.

    The group offered its condolences to the wounded and families of those who died and also praised the work of emergency and medical workers in responding to the disaster.

  9. Doctor: Emergency room 'a bit chaotic'

    Lebanon's health minister has said in televised remarks that more than 50 people have now been confirmed dead while more over 2,700 others are injured.

    The head of the Rafik Hariri University Hospital in Beirut, Dr Firass Abiad, told the BBC most of the injuries were due to breaking glass.

    "The emergency room, it's a bit chaotic. We started receiving almost immediately lots of injured patients, most of them were from glass injuries that occurred due to the blast.

    "Later we started receiving some of the injured people from closer to where the blast occurred. Currently we've received more than 200 patients and five of them unfortunately have passed away," he said.

    Two hospitals have been evacuated because of the severe damage that they have sustained - one of which is a hospital that was treating coronavirus patients, he added.

  10. Hospitals call for blood donations

    People injured in the Beirut Port explosion receive first aid
    Image caption: Some hospitals are said to be overwhelmed

    With around 2,500 people wounded, many hospitals in the capital Beirut are overwhelmed.

    Local media is sharing calls for blood donations from local hospitals struggling to cope.

    The Lebanese Red Cross, meanwhile, has opened first aid and triage stations "to help people with non-critical injuries" inside the capital.

    Lebanon's health minister has warned that the death toll is likely to rise, with many people critically injured.

    View more on twitter
  11. UN mission says peacekeepers injured

    The UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, Unifil, says a number of its members have been injured as today's explosion damaged one of its ships.

    "One of the UNIFIL ships of the Maritime Task Force docked in the port was damaged, leaving some UNIFIL naval peacekeepers injured - some of them seriously," the mission said in a statement.

    Unifil added that the peacekeepers had been taken to hospital. It did not say how many were hurt.

    “We are with the people and the government of Lebanon during this difficult time and stand ready to help and provide any assistance and support,” UNIFIL head of mission and force commander, Maj Gen Del Col, said.

  12. What's the situation like in Lebanon?

    A street vendor wearing a mask sells roses amid the coronavirus pandemic
    Image caption: Things were bad in Lebanon way before today's events

    Even before today's tragedy, Lebanon was already suffering under a number of major crises.

    The country's currency has been rapidly losing value against the dollar in recent months, leading to inflation and difficulties accessing basic goods.

    On top of this, Lebanon has been dealing with major power cuts and other problems over basic services.

    Growing anger last year led to mass protests against the country's elite, which eventually toppled the government.

    Coronavirus has only made things worse.

    The government implemented a strict lockdown which was then eased before being briefly reinforced. This, as in many countries, has affected people's ability to work.

    We have more about Lebanon's crisis here.

  13. PM makes call for international support

    Lebanon PM Hassan Diab

    Lebanon's Prime Minister has called for international support in the aftermath of the huge explosion in Beirut.

    "I make an urgent appeal to friendly and brotherly countries... to stand by Lebanon and to help us heal our deep wounds," Hassan Diab said.

    "It's a major national disaster," he told reporters.

    The prime minister also vowed to find those accountable.

    "Those responsible for this catastrophe will pay the price," he said. "This is a promise to the dead and wounded."

    He mentioned facts about this "dangerous warehouse" but also vowed not to "pre-empt the investigations".

  14. More world leaders pledge support

    There has already been a huge amount of international reaction to the explosion in Beirut, with countries around the world offering their support.

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called scenes in Lebanon "shocking" and said the UK "is ready to provide support in any way we can".

    View more on twitter

    French President Emmanuel Macron meanwhile tweeted in French and in Arabic that French aid was on its way, and said his country "stands alongside Lebanon".

    Israel's defence and foreign ministries meanwhile issued a joint statement saying they had reached out to the Lebanese government to offer "medical humanitarian aid".

  15. BreakingHealth minister: Around 40 killed, 2,500 injured

    The initial number of dead in today's explosion is "around 40", Health Minister Hamad Hassan told the Al-Jazeera Arabic news channel.

    The number is likely to rise due to the number of seriously injured people, he said, with medical workers were among the dead.

    Around 2,500 others have been injured, he added.

  16. Health Ministry asks medics to volunteer 'at nearest place you can get to'

    Firefighters spray water at a fire following an explosion in Beirut's port area
    Image caption: Emergency services are at the scene of the explosion

    Lebanon's Health Ministry has put out a call for medics to volunteer at the "nearest place you can get to" as hospitals face an influx of patients following the explosion.

    The ministry said it had also set up an emergency hotline, which will help to coordinate rescue efforts, ensuring that those with injuries are taken to hospitals that have the capacity to treat them.

    It came as Lebanon's health minister confirmed that at least 27 people were killed in the explosion, and another 2,500 injured.

    The Lebanese Red Cross says it has been "overwhelmed" with calls, and there are reports that hospitals have been turning injured people away because they are too full.

  17. BreakingTwenty-seven dead, 2,500 injured: Health minister

    At least 27 people are confirmed dead and about 2,500 have been wounded in the blasts, Lebanon's health minister has said

  18. Iran latest country to offer Lebanon support

    Iran has become the latest country to offer support to Lebanon following the blast.

    Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran's thoughts and prayers were with the "great and resilient people of Lebanon."

    "As always, Iran is fully prepared to render assistance in any way necessary. Stay strong, Lebanon," he tweeted.

    Leaders of France, Cyprus and the EU are also among those to offer assistance following the explosion.

    The World Health Organization said it was "deeply concerned" and working with partners to "respond to urgent needs."

    Hundreds of people are said to have been injured in the blast. Reuters news agency reported that at least 10 have died, but there is not yet an official toll.

    View more on twitter
  19. Powerful images emerge from the scene

    More photos illustrating the destruction and injury caused by the Beirut blast are emerging.

    Hundreds of people have been injured in the explosion. There have been reports that some people are being turned away from hospitals.

    A wounded man receives help outside a hospital following an explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020
    Damaged buildings and surroundings are seen after a fire at a warehouse with explosives at the Port of Beirut led to massive blasts in Beirut
    Wounded people are pictured outside a hospital following an explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut
    Wounded people are pictured outside a hospital following an explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020
    Wounded people are seen near the site after a fire at a warehouse with explosives at the Port of Beirut led to massive blasts in Beirut
  20. International leaders react to blast

    Men walk at the site of the explosion

    World leaders have begun reacting to news of the explosions. Here's a look at what some of them have said:

    • In a message on Twitter, Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said he was sending his "deepest condolences and sympathy to our brothers in Lebanon". He added that he was praying "for the speedy recovery of the injured and for consolation to the families of the victims"
    • The White House said the Trump administration was closely monitoring the situation
    • European Council President Charles Michel said the EU "stands ready to provide assistance and support", adding that his thoughts were with the people of Lebanon and families of the victims
    • UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said his country "stands in solidarity with the people of Lebanon"
    • Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said the country was "ready to provide any assistance deemed necessary," while sharing "deep condolences" with the people of Lebanon and those directly affected