Rescue workers in Lebanon have reportedly detected signs of life in the rubble of a building in a residential area of Beirut, Lebanon that collapsed after a huge explosion at a nearby port.
The state news agency NNA on Thursday reported that a team with a rescue dog had detected movement under a destroyed building in the Gemmayze area, one of the worst hit by the August 4 blast that killed about 190 people and injured 6000 others.
"These (signs of breathing and pulse) along with the temperature sensor means there is a possibility of life," rescue worker Eddy Bitar told reporters at the scene.
After several hours of digging through rubble, however, the operation was halted because the building was deemed too unsafe.
Heavier machinery was required to help lift the rubble safely, a rescue worker said, and it could not be brought until morning.
"There's a lot of danger to the team," Michel el-Mur told reporters.
"There are 10 of them up there, and we can't take a risk on a single one of them."
The team of rescue workers included volunteers who came from Chile, as well as Lebanese volunteers and members of the civil defence.
News of the rescue prompted crowds to form at the rescue site, who grew angry as rescue efforts were paused in a city desperate for hope.
The devastated site of the explosion in the port of Beirut. Source: AAP
It comes as Lebanon's army says it has found 4.35 tonnes of ammonium nitrate near the entrance to Beirut port.
Army engineers were "dealing with it," according to an army statement carried by the state news agency NNA.
The statement said the chemicals were found outside entrance nine to the port.
The authorities said it was caused by about 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been stacked in unsafe conditions in a port warehouse for years.
The blast smashed entire neighbourhoods, gutting buildings and injuring 6000 people.
Lebanon's government quit following widespread anger as the blast compounded public dismay at the country's economic crisis.
The public remains anxious that more hazardous materials are being stored badly, putting them at risk.
Earlier on Thursday, President Michel Aoun ordered repairs to be made to old refuelling infrastructure at Beirut airport and called for an investigation into a report that thousands of litres of fuel had leaked from the system.