Massive explosions shook Lebanon’s capital Beirut on Tuesday

in a blast that has killed 78, with many more fatalities feared to come.

Beirut: Health Minister Hamad Hasan said an explosion in the centre of the city had injured at least 4,000 people according to “preliminary estimates” and caused extensive damage, Lebanon’s LBC television channel quoted the minister as saying.

He said that those who can leave the city should, saying the hazardous materials in the air after the explosion can have long-term deadly effects.

The president of Lebanon said on Twitter that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was stored in a warehouse for six years without safety measures.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that those responsible for would “pay the price” and appeared to suggest that the warehouse at the epicentre of the blast had been “dangerous”.

“I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability,” he said in a televised speech. “Facts about this dangerous warehouse that has been there since 2014 will be announced and I will not preempt the investigations.”

The blast was so loud that people could hear it in Cyprus.

“I saw a fireball and smoke billowing over Beirut. People were screaming and running, bleeding,” said a Reuters witness.

“Balconies were blown off buildings. Glass in high-rise buildings shattered and fell to the street.”

“I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability,” he said in a televised speech. “Facts about this dangerous warehouse that has been there since 2014 will be announced and I will not preempt the investigations.”

The blast was so loud that people could hear it in Cyprus.

Local media showed images of bloodied people trapped under rubble following the explosion, the cause of which was not immediately clear.

Hospitals called for blood donations and the Lebanese Red Crescent sent out an alert to paramedics, calling on them to rush to dispatch centres.