Beirut explosion: Instagram account set up to find missing amasses 60,000 followers

Beirut explosion: Instagram account set up to find missing amasses 60,000 followers
Beirut explosion: Instagram account set up to find missing amasses 60,000 followers

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - An Instagram account set up to assist the search efforts for those lost in the Beirut explosion has amassed more than 60,000 followers in hours.

The profile, @locatevictimsbeirut, is providing an invaluable service with many still believed to be missing after officials said 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate caused a seismic blast in the port area of the Lebanese capital on Tuesday, killing at least 100 and injuring thousands more.

The reverberations of the explosion were felt as far away as Cyprus, located 150 kilometres north-west of the city.

"We are trying to locate the individuals posted on this account. They are likely victims of the Beirut explosion. Message me if you have any info," a post from the page read.

"Please share this page, we need to be effective and have a single platform for individuals to look through the pictures."

It was followed by posts of images of people believed to be victims of the blasts, and a contact number if they are found.

The owner of the page then proceeded to post lists of names of people who were found at hospitals around the city.

It also shared phone numbers of homeowners and their locations where people could stay if their home was damaged.

Rescuers continued to search for survivors on Wednesday after a cataclysmic explosion at the port sowed devastation across entire neighbourhoods and plunged Lebanon deeper into crisis.

The scale of the destruction was such that the Lebanese capital resembled the scene of an earthquake, with thousands of people left homeless and thousands more cramming into overwhelmed hospitals for treatment.

The mushroom-shaped explosion – which seismologists said was logged as the equivalent of a 3.3 magnitude quake – and the scope of the damage drew nuclear analogies in many people's accounts of the tragedy.

"The Apocalypse" read the headline of L'Orient-Le Jour, the main French-language daily in Lebanon, a country that has seen its share of explosions in its recent past, but none quite this big.

The embattled government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab described the circumstances at the port that led to the explosion as "unacceptable" and vowed to investigate.

"Those responsible for this catastrophe will pay the price," he said.

Messages of support poured in from around the world for Lebanon, whose economy was already on its knees after defaulting on sovereign debt earlier this year.

A crippling devaluation has sent poverty levels soaring to an estimated 50 per cent of the population and for a country so heavily reliant on imports, the obliteration of the main port signalled more hardship ahead.

Updated: August 5, 2020 11:45 AM

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