A large explosion has shaken Lebanon’s capital of Beirut with thick smoke seen billowing from a mushroom cloud – and Brits have got caught up in the devastating aftermath.
There are more than 50 dead and 2,700 injured people as emergency services work through the debris from the explosion, Lebanese health minister, Hassan Hamad confirmed.
The blast destroyed one building completely and blew out the glass on apartment blocks.
There are quite extraordinary and chilling images and footage on social media of the blast and its aftermath.
Local news stations said the blast was at Beirut’s port, although this has not been officially confirmed, with conflicting reports claiming the incident occurred at a fireworks warehouse.
A security source reportedly told Al Jazeera the blast was the result of an “error involving fireworks, and not an attack.”
Boris Johnson confirmed Brit nationals were among those caught up in the aftermath.
The Prime Minister said the Government is “ready to provide support in any way we can”, and Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab added the UK stands in solidarity with Lebanon.
In a tweet, Mr Johnson said: “The pictures and videos from Beirut tonight are shocking. All of my thoughts and prayers are with those caught up in this terrible incident.
“The UK is ready to provide support in any way we can, including to those British nationals affected.”
Mr Raab added in a tweet: “My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the devastating explosion in Beirut today.
“The UK stands in solidarity with the people of Lebanon and is ready to offer help and support, including to those British nationals impacted.”
Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr said: “The force of the blast was massive.
“There’s panic in the streets, glass everywhere.”
Joyce Cameron, from the National, tweeted footage of the explosion.
“Many houses damaged, injuries reported. First was at Port. This is closer to downtown.
“Two explosions near port in Beirut #Lebanon, second one left lot of damages in houses and cars. Ambulances called to area.”
Lebanese media claim the explosion occurred in a fireworks warehouse, with two explosions reported shortly after each other.
The second explosion is said to have caused the most damage, with an entire building destroyed and the shock felt throughout the city.
In dramatic footage of the explosion, survivors can be seen walking through the streets, bypassing cars and lorries with shattered windows.
People have been pictured injured and crying, with one man seen walking through the streets with blood pouring from his face.
Security sources said a number of people have been injured during the blast.
Fire engines rushed to the scene and said there were a “considerable number of wounded” people with evacuation operations underway.
The Red Cross also confirmed on Twitter that it had more than 30 teams including ambulances responding to the blast.
A video filmed moments before the building exploded appears to show fireworks flickering inside and a loud crackling sound.
People nearby can be heard screaming in the picture before smoke billows over the wall and a loud bang is heard as the person filming runs away from the blast.
In another video, ash can be seen covering the floor as people who appear to be lifeless lay on the ground.