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Lebanon explosion:Beirut apartment damaged by massive blast, At least 78 killed, injures thousands

Beirut, Lebanon: Hospitals in the Lebanese capital were overflowing with patients and people searching for loved ones after a huge blast in the port area sent shockwaves that shattered windows, smashed masonry and shook the ground across Beirut.

At least 78 people were killed and nearly 4,000 injured, with the death toll expected to rise, officials said. A security source said victims were taken for treatment outside the city because Beirut hospitals were packed with wounded. Ambulances from the north and south of the country and the Bekaa valley to the east were called in to help. The blast was so big that some residents in the city, where memories of heavy shelling during the 1975 to 1990 civil war live on, thought an earthquake had struck. Dazed, weeping and wounded people walked through streets searching for relatives.

Others sought their missing loved ones in the city's overflowing hospitals. One emergency room doctor at Khoury Hospital told Reuters at least 300 people were admitted to the single facility. President Michel Aoun said that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures and said it was "unacceptable." He called for an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday and said a two-week state of emergency should be declared.

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