In pictures: Beirut rocked by major explosion

Lebanese security officers arrive at the scene of an explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut. Credit: AP

The explosion that has devastated the centre of the Lebanese capital was felt for miles around - even as far as Cyprus, 200 kilometres away.

At least 60 have been confirmed dead, with more than 3,000 believed injured so far.

The cause of the blast, which sparked fires, overturned cars and blew out windows and doors, was not immediately known. Abbas Ibrahim, chief of Lebanese General Security, said it might have been caused by highly explosive material that was confiscated from a ship some time ago and stored at the port.

Local television channel LBC said the material was sodium nitrate.

What's for sure is a country already crippled by a flat-lining economy now faces even darker days, with Wednesday declared an official day of mourning for those who lost their lives.

Here is how the scene appears in the aftermath to the blast.

People gather at the damaged main entrance of Beirut’s seaport Credit: Hussein Malla/AP
A cloud from a massive explosion is seen in in Beirut Credit: Hassan Ammar/AP
Locals went to help people caught up in the blast. Credit: AP
The explosion flattened much of the surrounding area. Credit: AP
People could feel the effects of the blast from many miles away. Credit: AP
The destruction has left many injured. Credit: AP
Cars were overturned in the incident. Credit: AP
Hundreds have been hurt. Credit: AP