Beirut rocked by deadly blast

ABC News’ Ian Pannell reports on the aftermath of the blast that left at least 135 dead and up to 300,000 Lebanese homeless.
7:28 | 08/06/20

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Transcript for Beirut rocked by deadly blast
It has been declared a disaster city cope with pick images continue to come in from Beirut perhaps even more disturbing than seeing a mushroom cloud over that city. Are the images that we're getting now a bit desperate search to rubble and remains for survivors. Dozens remain missing. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced from their homes and thousands more injured. The hospitals there already on overlook from Kobe cases and as you can imagine the death toll is rising at least one American is said to be among the victims. The earth shaking blast that run multiple neighborhoods started in a warehouse and many are asking questions about that warehouse inside. 2700. Tons of a highly explosive unsecured compound which is emerges a likely cause of that blast. Our senior foreign correspondent Ian panel leads us off tonight. With the very latest. Tonight the state of emergency has Beirut counts the dead and desperately searches for the missing. After that support could lead to blast. Everyday life but raised in a flash mushroom clouds and written deliberate smoke seen heard and felt but dozens of models. Buildings blown in half colorless crushed glass lining the streets but a vocal. Look laced Kool opponents. More should have been the best day of her life a bride this is The Who wedding photos. Has the blast ripped through she seemed running for her life. A priest who like streaming service when the shockwaves hit. Stained glass raining down as the church shakes an American living in Beirut. Describing the nightmare. I generally thought the building was gonna crumble down while I was in my own home I ran down the street to see what was going on. Kind of took Kendrick summons class was falling from a amid an everywhere and so much glass on the street. At least one American citizens and soon to be among the more than 100 and city dance. Overwhelmed hospitals forced to turn away the wounded. And more than a quarter of a million people now homeless in a country or rid the in the depths of an economic crisis. Palestinians and the movie is that. This street. Decimate it didn't do that there is one of the main event still intact areas became head and I think that that does it today that just trying to check. If anybody. Then in the wreckage of the building behind me. This is ruled the remains of the ports where the blast happened. A lot of drawing for a country this imports almost all its food. Now reduced to rubble. These before NAFTA satellite images show pumps are ruled but Greece to the ground. Has the shell shock citizens of this city come to terms with the devastating loss. The prime ministers vowing to find and punish who's responsible. Port officials placed under house arrest until an investigation determines who's to blame we're now learning that we'll move and tour and a half. Thousand tons but the move him nitrate stored here. A highly exclusive chemical often used in fertilizers. And the same chemical used in the Oklahoma City bombing but the amount schooled him day route. Over a thousand times my whole. In Quincy thirteen the FBI demonstrated what's an explosion width 250. Pounds of ammonium nitrate would look right. Explosion in Beirut guest today. With 22000. Times more powerful the blast filled more than 100 miles away in Cyprus. The ammonium nitrate was confiscated from a Croatia and stored at the pole for six years but nothing appears to have beaten down to secure it. As the investigation intensifies some officials appointing two gross negligence. But last village president trump saying something else that looks like a terrible. That back. US Defense Secretary is proceeding today moves believe it was an accident. America who like others offering desperately needed help in the country gripped not just by the Clinton beat nineteen pandemic. But also a political and economic crisis. Car it's challenging it's sat. We've been on a roller coaster of emotions her wild years Zola. So from the sadness and anger as soon so to being scared we withdraw mortified at the beyond its. It's definitely an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone who. As days of mourning and months is doing here is appealing the heads one grandmother. Place old Lang design. The serenade for shattered nation amid the ruins of apartment a movements her granddaughter called simply. PG from the ash. Some unbelievable scenes playing out there in panel joins us now in was any concern that this highly dangerous material was being stored at a port. Not far from where a lot of that city's food is brought in. Gabby more more information cease to be coming forward we now know that the material was zapped for at least six years. We understand from some ABC's own group forcing that was taken from a Russian ships that are being taken in to pull this more than two enough. Thousand tons of this highly dangerous substance. But yes reports out of Lebanon could sing. Tip from multiple warnings saying that that had been people concerned about the way in which this material was told. The people that raise the alarm of the letters have been written and that clearly no action had been taken now we don't have that verified at this point. But I've heard it from sources and is now being reports in the Wall Street Journal's Associated Press. Also reporting this denies had that would tie and with the fears of many people in Lebanon. That this endemic corruption and mismanagement. The kind of thing that brought people are tones of the street. In that thousands. It's a very same thing that accounts for these dangerous substance being held in the polls. Next to well all material comes into the country I'm very close to residential areas. I'm not being kept proclaim we see the consequences of that. Yeah and speaking of those residential areas what can you tell us now about the needs in Beirut where so many are suddenly homeless. Yeah exactly I mean again I can't stress enough corn how difficult life already walls bowl or being Lebanese people more of them of lost their life savings. They can't get that money out to the back. That loss that jolt there are shortages of food. Electricity that powers O'Neill the two out today. And then suddenly this happens and then made homeless because of the humanitarian needs for the country are absolutely enormous. We're seeing a pouring in the French president said Emmanuel. My chrome is going to Beirut. He's already sending humanitarian assistance the British government saw put. The US government says Alford humanitarian assistance. And I seen a remarkable movie even Israel sworn enemy of Lebanon the two countries have consistently going to war with each other. Israel has offered not just medical assistant sold so humanitarian assistance. Is well even projecting an image of the Lebanese lack. Public building in downtown Tel Aviv. I think it's highly unlikely that I'll help will be accepted but the need to end the scale of it is enormous. And they can't come fast enough. They countries coming together to help in panel thanks so much for your reporting.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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