Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed one Australian has died in a deadly explosion in Beirut, Lebanon this morning.
“It is my deep regret to inform you one Australian has been killed in this horrific blast,” Mr Morrison told the Today show.
“Our hearts go out to all those in Lebanon.”
He said the Australian embassy had been “significantly impacted” in the blast but no staff were injured.
The Lebanese health ministry says at least 72 people have been killed and more than 3,700 injured in the blast, with the dead toll expected to rise as a full picture of the devastation becomes clearer.
It’s understood the source of the blast, which occurred just before 5pm in the capital, was the result of the detonation of nearly three tonnes of highly explosive material which had been stored in the city’s port area.
Lebanese President, Michel Aoun said it was “unacceptable that ammonium nitrate was stored in a warehouse for six years without safety measures” in statements published on the presidency’s Twitter account.
Scott Morrison said around 20,000 Australians were currently living in the Lebanon capital.
The explosion released a massive shockwave causing widespread damage to buildings and shattering windows in different parts of the city.
The blast, which has flattened much of the capital’s port area, was felt across the city as a giant mushroom cloud rose above it.