A further 300,000 citizens were left homeless by the catastrophe, as hospitals struggled to cope.
According to the report, the blast that ripped through the city’s port area was believed to have been triggered by a welder who caused a fire at the port when patching up a hole to prevent warehouse thefts. This fire then spread to a warehouse containing explosive chemicals and detonated 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate. The resulting explosion is believed to have been one-fifth as powerful as the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
As the dust cleared over the shocked city this morning, survivors picked through the debris looking for victims, with the death toll expected to rise as the search operation continues.