ASTONISHING footage shows the moment a little girl is pulled alive from rubble in Beirut yesterday 24 hours after the huge explosion which killed at least 135.
Emergency workers are still sifting through crumbled buildings in the Lebanese capital in the hope of finding survivors after the blast on Tuesday.
The video clip shows rescuers finding the child by torchlight, spotting her head poking out from the debris, as they search through the rubble.
According to local media, the girl spent 24 hours buried in the wreckage of a collapsed building following the explosion.
Yesterday, a man was also pulled from the rubble and was carried away in a stretcher with locals cheering “Issam is alive.”
He is one of 5,000 people injured in the disaster while dozens more people are missing as rescuers continue to hunt for survivors.
Officials expect the death toll to continue to rise.
The explosion was caused by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate which had been stored at a warehouse for six years.
Lebanese authorities have placed port officials under house arrest and reports have emerged the explosive stash was seized from a mysterious Russian businessman.
Lebanon's leaders have vowed those responsible will "pay the price" after the “nuclear-like” blast left 5,000 injured, 300,000 homeless and half the city's buildings damaged.
Port officials have however pointed the finger at the government as they claimed to have repeatedly warned the authorities of the dangerous cargo at Warehouse 12.
A picture has emerged said to show bags of ammonium nitrate packed into the warehouse.
The startling photo appears to show the storage facility shoddily packed with one ton bags of the chemical – which is known to be used by terrorists in homemade bombs.
Investigative website Bellingcat analysed the photo and said it does appear to match the dock warehouse which exploded yesterday afternoon.
BBC journalist Riam Dalati also tweeted a copy of the photo, saying it appears to show workers stacking the salvaged ammonium nitrate at Warehouse 12.
Thousands were injured in the fireball which flattened buildings, ripped people's clothes from their bodies and damaged properties up to six miles away.
The blast – which has caused up to £4bn worth of damage – was so large it could be heard 110 miles across the sea in Cyprus.
It has emerged the powder-keg of chemicals was shipped by Russian businessman Igor Grechushkin who has been accused of abandoning it in Beirut.
Neither the businessman nor his family have yet commented on the explosion, which had one fifth the power of a nuclear bomb.
The Russian captain of the ship Boris Prokoshev, now 70, warned at the time of the deadly nature of the cargo.
He said: “The vessel’s owner abandoned it and we were abandoned too.
"We were living on a powder keg for ten months without being paid."
Anger is mounting as Lebanon's government and customs officials point fingers at each other as to who is the blame for the monstrous explosion.
'Hang up the nooses' trended across Lebanese social media in an indication of the fury that followed the initial shock and grief.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab vowed those responsible will "pay the price" as rescue operations continue in Beirut.
What is ammonium nitrate?
Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound which is predominantly used in agriculture as a fertiliser – ut is also higling explosive.
It is a white crystalline solid and is highly soluble in water – with the chemical formula NH₄NO₃.
The chemical is applied in granule form into the soil and quickly dissolves under moisture, allowing nitrogen to be released.
Another use of ammonium nitrate is in the food industry where it is used as a nutrient in producing antibiotics and yeast.
In most countries, it is used to make explosives for mining, quarrying and civil construction because of its low cost and ready availability.
It has been the cause of numerous industrial explosions over the last three decades, including the explosion at a chemical plant in Toulouse, France, in 2001 that killed 31 people.
Ammonium nitrate was also used to create the explosives used in the 2006 Mumbai train bombings.
By itself, ammonium nitrate is not regarded as dangerous but under certain conditions, it can become deadly.
The chemical is classified as an “energetic material” meaning that it produces heat as it decomposes.
If there is a significant amount of ammonium nitrate it can generate enough heat to catch fire and continue to burn eventually causing an explosion.
International aid is being mobilised across the world to help support the victims and search for those potentially still trapped beneath the rubble.
The US, UK, France, Gulf states and even rivals Israel have offered money and assistance, as President Aoun declared three days of mourning and announced he would release £50m of emergency funds.
British engineering experts have found the blast was "unquestionably" one of the largest non-nuclear explosions ever to take place.
The team from the University of Sheffield has calculated the strength of the blast based on the videos and photographs of the catastrophe.
They believe the explosion was the equivalent of 1,000 to 1,500 tonnes of TNT.
Beirut's governor Marwan Aboud said as many as 300,000 people may have been left homeless with many buildings reduced to an uninhabitable mess of rubble and glass.
There are concerns of food shortages and unrest in the city, with the blast compounding anger stemming from a severe economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.
The Foreign Office confirmed several staff based at the embassy more than three miles from the port needed hospital treatment but declined to give any details.
A spokesman said: “All Embassy staff are accounted for. A small number have sustained non- life-threatening injuries and where necessary are receiving medical attention.”
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