Beirut port blast was equivalent to 4.5-magnitude earthquake — seismologists

The blast that rocked the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday was equivalent to a 4.5-magnitude earthquake, the Al Ghad newspaper reported citing Jordanian seismologists, Trend reports citing TASS.

"The Jordan Seismological Observatory at the kingdom’s Natural Resources Authority registered the Beirut port blast, whose seismological activity was equivalent to a 4.5-magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale," the paper quoted the observatory as saying in a statement.

According to Cyprus Mail, the echo of the blast reached the Cyprus capital of Nicosia, which is 241 km away from Beirut. Residents of western Cypriot villages on the slopes of Troodos Mountains also reported hearing the sound of the explosion.

In turn, the Cyprus News Agency said citing a Cypriot diplomat in Beirut that the blast damaged the embassy building and the residence of the Cyprus ambassador to Lebanon.

President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades expressed condolences to the government and the people of Lebanon, particularly to the families of all those who died in the blast.

"We wish and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured ones," he said. "We stand ready to provide any assistance deemed necessary."

A powerful blast rocked the Beirut port district on Tuesday, sending a shockwave that ripped through residential districts of the Lebanese capital. According to latest figures, more than 50 people were killed and 2,750 injured. The shockwave destroyed and damaged dozens of buildings in the vicinity.

The Lebanese Interior Ministry said the disaster was caused by the detonation of more than 50 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, stored in the port since being confiscated from a ship nine years ago. The governor of Beirut compared the blast with the 1945 nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.