Beirut explosions: Boris Johnson responds to 'shocking' scenes in Lebanon and confirms British nationals may be affected

Kate Ng
·2 min read
Firefighters spray water at a fire following an explosion in Beirut's port area, Lebanon: REUTERS
Firefighters spray water at a fire following an explosion in Beirut's port area, Lebanon: REUTERS

The Prime Minister and other government officials have reacted to the huge explosion in Beirut on Tuesday and confirmed British nationals may have been affected by the blast that rocked the city.

Boris Johnson said in a statement on Twitter: “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 any support in any way we can, including to those British nationals affected.”

The explosion at a port warehouse district in Lebanon’s capital city has killed more than 25 people and injured over 2,500 others. Officials expect the death toll to rise as emergency workers dig through the rubble of buildings that collapsed nearby.

Windows were shattered and apartment balconies and ceilings collapsed across the city as the explosion sent shockwaves and made the ground shake. Footage of the incident was shared widely on social media as the city reels in the aftermath.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also responded to the “devastating” incident, and added: “The UK stands in solidarity with the people of Lebanon and is ready to offer help and support including to those British nationals impacted.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “The images of explosions in Beirut are deeply worrying. Our thoughts are with those affected, the emergency services and the people of Lebanon.”

Former chancellor Sajid Javid tweeted to say his “thoughts and prayers” were with the people of Lebanon. London mayor Sadiq Khan also said the city stood with Beirut amid “truly horrifying images”.

Liberal Democrat acting leader Sir Ed Davey said in a tweet there were “truly awful scenes and in a city that has already seen so much heartbreak”.

The prime minister of Lebanon, Hassan Diab, said the whole country is “facing a catastrophe and Beirut is in mourning”.

Beirut’s governor, Marwan Abboud, broke down into tears as he toured the site of the explosion and said: “Beirut is a devastated city.” A civil defence official reportedly said there were still bodies inside the port, many trapped under debris.

The head of Lebanon’s Red Cross, George Kettani, told local broadcaster Mayadeen: “There are victims and casualties everywhere – in all the streets and areas near and far from the explosion.”

Additional reporting by AP