Aoun said 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilizers and bombs, had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures. He called it "unacceptable."
The explosion was the most powerful ever to rip through Beirut, leaving the port district a wreck of mangled masonry and disabling the main entry port for imports to feed a nation of more than 6 million people.
Lebanese rescue workers dug through rubble on Wednesday (August 5) looking for survivors.
Officials said the toll was expected to rise in a city still reeling from civil war three decades ago and reeling from an economic meltdown and a surge in coronavirus infections.