Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Live Reporting

Claudia Allen, Emma Harrison, Deirdre Finnerty and Flora Drury

All times stated are UK

  1. We're ending our live coverage

    A street in Beirut covered in debris

    Thanks for joining us today. We're pausing our live page on the Beirut explosion, but in the meantime, here is a summary of what we know so far:

    • Lebanon's government says a number of Beirut port officials are under house arrest pending an investigation into Tuesday's huge explosion
    • The blast has killed at least 135 people and injured more than 4,000 others
    • A two-week state of emergency has begun in Beirut
    • President Michel Aoun said the blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely in a warehouse
    • And customs chief Badri Daher said his agency called for the chemical to be removed, but "this did not happen"

    Our news story will continue to be updated and you can read a summary of what happened on Tuesday here.

  2. The mother in labour during Beirut blast

    Video content

    Video caption: Beirut blast: The mother in labour during explosion

    Emmanuelle was getting ready to give birth at St George's hospital in Beirut when an explosion rocked Lebanon's capital.

    Her husband Edmond captured the terrifying ordeal on camera. He spoke to BBC World News about what happened.

    Their son, George, arrived shortly after. Mum and baby are both doing well.

  3. How young people in Lebanon are feeling: 'This is the last straw'

    BBC OS

    More than 24 hours on from the explosion, BBC OS on World Service radio has been hearing from young people in and around Beirut.


    Jana lives in Beirut, not far from where the explosion took place. Her school is now completely destroyed, and her university damaged. She graduated just a week ago, but now wants to leave Lebanon.

    "The revolution was our last hope to get back our country. Now after the explosion, I've convinced myself to leave."


    Charbel is a student at the Lebanese University, and lives in Jbeil about 35km north of Beirut.

    "We have already gone through a lot this year - coronavirus, unemployment, the protests in November 2019. It was all accumulating, and this felt like the last straw."

    He says the government should be doing more to give people hope during this time.

    "This is Lebanon's 9/11. When 9/11 took place in the USA, people came together. The president came down to the rubble, to give hope to people. None of our political class has done that so far."


    Dayane is a teacher in Batroun, about 50km north of Beirut.

    "Leaving Lebanon goes through my head, because not having stable security and economy is worrying," she says. "We worry about our families, about our careers, about our friends. We don't have hope any more."

  4. 'Humanity precedes conflict,' says Israeli mayor

    Israel and Lebanon are still technically at war, but on Wednesday evening, the Lebanese flag will be projected onto the walls of Tel Aviv's city hall.

    "Humanity precedes any conflict, and our hearts are with the Lebanese people in the wake of the terrible disaster that befell them," Tel Aviv's mayor, Ron Huldai, said after announcing the move in a tweet.

    Israel has already offered humanitarian aid to Lebanon, albeit via the United Nations.

    In 2006, Israel and the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah were involved in a month-long conflict, killing more than 1,200 Lebanese - most of whom were civilians - and 160 Israelis, most of whom were soldiers.

  5. Shock, sympathy and suspicion over 'Beirutshima' in regional media

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Arab media outlets have extensively highlighted the Beirut blast, several comparing its effect to that of a nuclear bomb.

    They reflect Lebanon's shock and sadness and express widespread solidarity with the country and its people.

    Amid messages of sympathy and offers of aid, some outlets hint it could have been a deliberate attack and point fingers at the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah, reflecting the regional rivalries that have influenced Lebanon's politics for decades.

    The Saudi-funded TV station Al Arabiya, for example, published an old speech by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, in which he described a hypothetical nuclear explosion similar to the blast at the port, in an apparent effort to link the two.

    This behaviour is no surprise considering Saudi Arabia and Iran are old foes.

    In Israel, also an adversary of Iran, some media analysts suggest the store of ammonium nitrate said to have detonated may have been linked to Hezbollah.

    “The assumption is that Hezbollah is somehow involved in almost anything that happens in Lebanon,” defence analyst Amos Harel told the Israeli public broadcaster Kan.

    In Iran, as in some outlets elsewhere, President Donald Trump's suggestion that the blast could have been an attack has been given short shrift, with one state channel describing his comment as "bizarre".

  6. Explosion equivalent to '10% of Hiroshima atomic bomb'

    David Shukman

    Science editor, BBC News

    A rapid analysis of videos of the explosion in Beirut has come up with an initial conclusion about the power of the blast.

    A team of specialists at the University of Sheffield estimates that it had the force of 1,000-1,500 tonnes of TNT – roughly equivalent to one-tenth of the explosive power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

    Professor Andy Tyas, who led the work, said: “Whatever the precise charge size, this is unquestionably one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, far bigger than any conventional weapon.”

    “We have also analysed video footage of the time delay between the detonation and the arrival of the shock wave at points several hundred metres from the explosion and these broadly agree with this size of charge.

    “If correct, that would mean this explosion had perhaps 10% of the intensity of the Hiroshima bomb.”

  7. UK 'ready and poised' to offer help

    Jonathan Blake

    BBC political correspondent

    The foreign secretary Dominic Raab has said the UK will "stand by the Lebanese people in their time of need" and promised a £5m aid package to help Lebanon deal with the aftermath of yesterday's explosion in Beirut.

    Mr Raab said it had been a "devastating" explosion and there was "clearly a huge loss of life and wider damage in Beirut". The government was "not sure on the precise figures" of UK nationals affected but a consular team in Lebanon were "monitoring that carefully" he said.

    The UK was "ready and now poised" to offer search and rescue assistance, humanitarian and medical support, Mr Raab confirmed, adding that a Royal Navy survey ship in the area could also be deployed to assess the damage to the port.

    Mr Raab said he had discussed with the Lebanese PM the need for "a full, thorough and rigorous investigation to get to the truth" of how the blast happened, adding "I think the people of Lebanon deserve no less."

  8. In pictures: Beirut starts counting the cost

    A  woman sits in front of a damaged building after the massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon

    It has been just over 24 hours since the blast destroyed buildings across Beirut, leaving the city's residents to pick up the pieces.

    An estimated 300,000 need to find new homes, while others are tending to injuries sustained in the force of the explosion.

    Others are heading into the most affected areas, offering help and trying to clean up some of the debris.

    People stand with their belongings as they evacuate their damaged house, following Tuesday"s blast in Beirut"s port area
    A Lebanese person shows injuries on the back after the massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, 05 August 2020
    Volunteers clean the streets, following Tuesday"s blast in Beirut"s port area
  9. BreakingVerdict in Hariri trial postponed

    The Special Tribunal for Lebanon has postponed its verdict in the case of four men accused of involvement in the death of former PM Rafik Hariri.

    The verdict was due this Friday, but will now be pronounced on Tuesday 18 August, the UN-backed court in The Hague said.

    STL said the decision was made “out of respect for the countless victims of the devastating explosion that shook Beirut on 4 August, and the three-day of public mourning in Lebanon”.

  10. Beds offered to blast victims with #OurHomesAreOpen

    Hundreds of Lebanese have offered shelter to those whose homes were devastated by the blast.

    Using the hashtag #OurHomesAreOpen in Arabic and English on social media, spare beds and empty properties have been offered to victims.

    "I wanted to do something about it, I was going crazy," said the founder of the platform ThawraMap, originally used to identify protest locations, which is now curating a list of available beds, including free accommodation from hotels.

    "Today a lot more people are going to be homeless. They go to their family or friends for a day or two and then what are they going to do?" the anti-government activist told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, who declined to publish his name over safety concerns.

    Earlier, Beirut's governor Marwan Aboud said up to 300,000 people had been made homeless by Tuesday's explosion.

  11. Israel’s Netanyahu didn’t point out the blast site in 2018

    Alistair Coleman

    BBC Monitoring

    Photographs of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the United Nations General Assembly in 2018 are being posted on social media amid claims that he is pointing at the site of yesterday’s Beirut explosion.

    Some social media users are using the images as "proof" that Israel had a hand in the blast.

    Netanyahu points at a map

    The images are genuine and not manipulated, but have been taken out of context.

    Mr Netanyahu is actually pointing to a completely different district in the city of Beirut where he claimed Hezbollah was hiding weapons.

    The blast site is several kilometres to the north of “Site 1” on Mr Netanyahu’s map.

    It’s one of several conspiracy theories being put forward following yesterday’s events, including discredited reports that the explosion was a small nuclear device.

  12. BreakingDeath toll rises to 135 - minister

    Lebanon's health minister has just said the death toll has risen to 135, with some 5,000 people injured, according to local broadcaster Al Manar TV.

    There are still a number of people missing, he said.

  13. Beirut explosion: 'Thousands have lost their homes'

    Video content

    Video caption: A resident whose apartment building was destroyed in the blast describes the aftermath
  14. Twenty-one French citizens injured in Beirut blast

    The Paris prosecutor's office has said 21 French citizens were injured in Tuesday's explosion in Beirut.

    Remy Heintz said in a statement that an investigation for "involuntary injury" had been opened.

  15. Explosion 'felt like being hit' - 12 miles from epicentre

    British citizens living in Lebanon have described their experiences of Tuesday's devastating explosion.

    Claire Malleson, from Dorset, was jogging around the campus of her workplace, the American University of Beirut, at the time of the blast.

    "I just felt this enormous explosion - I thought it was somewhere on campus because it felt a lot closer than the three miles away," she said.

    "I could see damage to the buildings near me and a glowing red cloud and a plume of smoke."

    Richard Gordon-Smith, from Twickenham, said he felt the shockwaves of the blast more than 12 miles away.

    The 39-year-old, who lives in the coastal town of Damour, described it as like "being slapped in the face".

    "Suddenly I simultaneously heard a very loud noise and felt something hitting me, almost like a slap in the face, a strike in my ear and my eardrums reverberated painfully," he said.

    "All of the hospitals have been wrecked. Patients are out on the street instead of being treated inside hospitals."

  16. What we know so far

    Before and after aerial image of the port

    Here's what we know so far about what is happening in Beirut, after a massive explosion devastated the city's port area on Tuesday.

    • A two-week state of emergency has been announced by Lebanon's Information Minister
    • The cabinet has asked security forces to ensure no-one tampers with the scene of Tuesday's huge explosion
    • More than 100 people are missing and a search operation is under way
    • The blast killed at least 113 people and injured more than 4,000 others
    • President Michel Aoun said the blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate - used as a fertiliser in agriculture and as an explosive - stored unsafely in a warehouse
    • Beirut's governor says up to 300,000 people were made homeless after the explosion damaged people's homes
    • Tuesday's blast was reported as being felt as far as 240km (150 miles) away on the island of Cyprus

    Read more in our news story here

    A map of the explosion site in Beirut
  17. BreakingDeath toll rises to 113

    Lebanon's health minister has confirmed that 113 people have now died from the explosion. Many more are still missing.

  18. 'Apocalyptic' explosion 'probably cost billions', says minister

    Lebanon's economy minister, Raoul Nehme, has described the devastation around the port as "apocalyptic" - and vowed to hold those responsible to account.

    "There is not one house, not one store, not one apartment that was not badly damaged," he told the BBC.

    "Really it is apocalyptic and around the port nothing is left and where the explosion went off, basically it went (then) everything went into the sea.

    "You had a piece of land and now it's in the sea and disappeared entirely.

    "We're speaking probably about billions of dollars but we don't have any assessments."

    A  general view of the destroyed port in the aftermath of a massive explosion in downtown Beirut, Lebanon

    There will definitely be an investigation into how such an explosion was able to happen, he added.

    "I think it is incompetence and really bad management and there are a lot of responsibilities from management and probably previous governments.

    "We do not intend after such an explosion to stay silent on who is responsible for what."

  19. 'Thoughts and prayers are not enough'

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    This morning, BBC Radio 5 Live's Your Call programme spoke to Lebanese listeners based in UK, like Ahmed, who works as a psychiatrist in London.

    “Hospitals don’t have capacity," he told the programme. "They’re bursting at the scenes, this is a catastrophe... thoughts and prayers are not enough, I urge people to donate where they can.

    "We feel like we’ve been cursed... the economy has imploded, and the country didn’t need this. Covid-19 has hit Lebanon hard but now it’s a crisis."

    Mohammed has family in Beirut. He said he spoke to them on the phone and they were crying. “I’ve got a relative who spent his night having an operation, he has a fracture on his skull and is lying in ICU. It’s a terrible situation,” he said.

    Karim is the captain of the Lebanese rugby team. His family live about a mile from the port, and they have told him they are safe.

    “Part of me feels lucky that I’m safe in London," he said. "But I also feel guilty that I can’t be there to help, donating blood or doing other simple things.

    "I lived in Lebanon for 10 years, it’s a home for me, so when I see people I know struggling, I feel bad."

    Click here to listen to BBC Radio 5 Live's News Special on BBC Sounds.

  20. 'Ruled by incompetent buffoons'

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    In Lebanon, a sense of incredulity over the circumstances that led to the explosion and seething anger over what many view as the gross negligence and mismanagement that contributed to it, have been most evident in one monologue on local channel MTV.

    Popular programme host Marcel Ghanem railed against the authorities for several minutes, calling them “criminals” and “shameless, dirty people” and mocked spitting on them.

    Television host Marcel Ghanem

    Many Twitter users have also called for the government to resign. “Lebanon is not cursed, it is simply ruled by incompetent buffoons,” said one.

    “We are done cutting [off] roads, we will start cutting heads," said another, referring to the many demonstrations that have been held against the government in recent months.

    "What happened is an act of war against the Lebanese people by the ruling thugs… We need international protection against the criminals governing Lebanon," a third said.