REVISES HEADLINE, ESTIMATES, ADDS MORE REMARKS FROM GOVERNOR
By Yousef Hussein
BEIRUT (AA) - In the wake of yesterday’s deadly port explosion in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut’s governor said Wednesday that the material damage from the incident could cost as much as $15 billion.
"Beirut has become a devastated city…Half of it was destroyed, and hundreds of thousands of residents will not be able to return to their homes before two or three months," Marwan Abboud told reporters.
"The damage is too big. We estimate the direct and indirect material damage to be around $10-$15 billion. This is the biggest crisis Lebanon has gone through in modern times," he said later in another press statement.
In a statement earlier in the day, Abboud estimated the damage to be around $3-$5 billion.
According to the latest information, 135 people died and around 5,000 others were injured in the blast, and there are many people trapped under debris in Beirut, said Health Minister Hamad Hassan.
On Tuesday, a massive explosion rocked the Port of Beirut, leaving many dead and injured and causing widespread damage in several neighborhoods of the capital.
The governor said there were “no accurate numbers regarding the missing."
The explosion occurred as Lebanon's economy is facing its worst crisis in decades.
It also happened days before Friday’s scheduled verdict by a UN-backed court in the case of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, which has now been postponed to Aug. 18 out of respect for the victims of the blast.
*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat, Firdevs Bulut