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14 Aug, 2022 11:20

Explosion rocks Armenian capital (VIDEO)

At least 34 people were injured and three killed in the fallout from the blast, according to local authorities

An explosion rocked a shopping plaza in Yerevan on Sunday, resulting in dozens of casualties, according to Armenia's Ministry of Emergency Situations.

Emergency services have confirmed that 3 people have died and at least 34 people were injured in the blast at the Surmalu shopping plaza in Yerevan. The city administration said that some people were stuck under the rubble while a resuce operation began. 

According to the ministry the explosion in the mall was followed by a fire, with videos posted on social media depicting large plumes of smoke. Eyewitnesses also reported several minor explosions, which could have come from fireworks.

A building on the grounds of the plaza that housed a pyrotechnics store has reportedly collapsed. The exact cause of the blast is unclear.

According to a member of the Yerevan Elders’ Council, Levon Zakaryan, a recent inspection by the fire protection authorities identified several violations, which the building was ordered to address.

Four fire-fighting teams were initially dispatched to the scene, while the total number of crews has now reached 20. 

Several high-ranking Armenian officials have arrived at the scene, including the parliament speaker, Alen Simonyan, the head of National Security Service, Sarkis Hovhannisyan, and a deputy health minister.

Despite efforts by rescuers to keep bystanders away from the danger area, many are nevertheless helping first responders to clear the debris, put out fires and attend to the victims.