London Fire Brigade has issued a safety warning after the devastating explosion in Beirut that has killed dozens of people and left thousands more injured.
Save the Children said in a statement that members of their team on the ground in the city have reported entire streets destroyed and children unaccounted for after the huge blast in Lebanon’s capital city.
The UK’s Foreign Office has said it is not yet known how many British nationals are among those caught up in the aftermath of the explosion, that struck with the force of a 3.5 magnitude earthquake and was heard and felt as far away as Cyprus – more than 180 miles across the Mediterranean.
Lebanon President Michel Aoun said the blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate being stored unsafely in a warehouse.
Lebanon’s Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi told a local TV station it had been at the dock since being confiscated from a cargo ship in 2014.
Now London Fire Brigade has issued warning to all those in the UK that store large quantities of flammable chemicals.
On Twitter, the Fire Brigade said: “Following the devastating ammonium nitrate explosion in Beirut, we’re urging all those that need to store large quantities of flammable chemicals to look at their safety plans & adhere to UK legislation.
“Only store the amount permitted and do not stock pile.”
A charity has reported entire streets wiped out following a large explosion in Lebanon.
At least 50 people have been killed and 2,700 injured by the blast near Beirut’s harbour on Tuesday evening.
Authorities in Lebanon are yet to announce the cause of the explosion.
Save the Children said in a statement that members of their team on the ground in the city have reported entire streets destroyed and children unaccounted for. Despite the charity’s offices in the city being badly damaged, they have pledged that a rapid response team is ready to offer support.
Jad Sakr, Save the Children’s country director in Lebanon, said: “We are shocked and devastated by the explosion today.
“The death toll may not be known for several days but we do know is that in a disaster like this, children may be hurt, shocked and separated from their parents.
“Our child protection teams are ready to support the government’s efforts, which will almost certainly go on for several days to come.
“It is vital that children and their families get access to the services they urgently need, including medical care and physical and emotional protection.”
He added: “The incident could not have occurred at a worst time and has hit communities who were already suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the economic deterioration.
“Beirut’s main port, now completely damaged, is vital for much of the food, grains and fuel that Lebanon imports, and families will immediately feel the shortage in basic needs as a result of this tragedy.”
The UK has also pledged help, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying the Government is “ready to provide support in any way we can”.
It a tweet on Tuesday evening he also wrote: “The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking.
“All of my thoughts and prayers are with those caught up in this terrible incident.”