Middle East

Desperate to find those missing after the Beirut blast, friends and family are turning to Instagram

The Instagram account, set up hours after the explosion, quickly gained tens of thousands of followers Source: Instagram

The @locatevictimsbeirut account has attracted tens of thousands of followers as families and friends search for their loved ones.

A heartbreaking Instagram account has been set up to help find dozens of people missing in the wake of the devastating explosion in Beirut.

The @locatevictimsbeirut page was set up shortly after the blast decimated the Lebanese capital on Tuesday, causing widespread destruction and at least 100 deaths.

The account, which quickly gained tens of thousands of followers, has posted a steady feed of people reported missing by friends and families, who sent in images and contact details.

A number of the people reported missing had worked or had last been seen at the Beirut port, the epicentre of the blast.

“If you have any loved ones you are looking for, DM me and I will share as much as I can,” a post from the page reads.

“Please share this page, we need to be effective and have a single platform for individuals to look through the pictures.”

In the comments, concerned friends and followers are posting supportive comments, tip-offs and prayers.

Many of the people featured on the page were later found alive or in hospital, prompting relieved comments from loved ones.

But the locations of many others are still unknown and there are fears the death toll will rise even further.

At least one Australian has been confirmed to have died in the blast.

A mushroom-shaped explosion – which seismologists said was logged as the equivalent of a 3.3 magnitude quake - and the scope of the damage drew nuclear analogies in many people’s accounts of the tragedy.

It appeared to have been caused by a fire igniting 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate left unsecured in a warehouse, and was reportedly felt as far away as Cyprus, some 240 kilometres away.

Messages of support have poured in from around the world for Lebanon, whose economy was already on its knees after defaulting on sovereign debt earlier this year.

Several disaster relief campaigns, including some based in Australia, are already underway.

With AFP.

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