Beirut blast a terrible accident: Morrison

The death toll from the Beirut port explosion is expected to keep rising.
The death toll from the Beirut port explosion is expected to keep rising.

Scott Morrison has declared the massive explosion in Beirut that killed at least 137 people including one Australian was a terrible accident.

The prime minister indicated the government's intelligence had ruled out a targeted attack as Lebanese authorities probe if negligence was to blame.

"Our advice is this is a terrible accident, an absolutely terrible accident," Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

"I know many in Australia, in the Lebanese-Australian community, will be feeling it very deeply and I was pleased to be able to talk to a number of those yesterday."

Australia is weighing up more support for Lebanon to cope with the devastating fallout after pledging $2 million to the relief effort.

"We are considering a further round of other ways we can support in this terrible incident in Beirut," Mr Morrison said.

One Australian was killed in the disaster, which centred on Beirut's port where 2750 tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse was ignited.

More than 5000 people were injured in the explosion and up to 250,000 were left homeless after a shockwave smashed building facades, sucked furniture into streets and shattered windows.

The death toll is expected to rise beyond 137 as rescue workers search the rubble for survivors.

Australia's embassy was severely damaged, with 95 per cent of the windows blasted out.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said in a statement on on Thursday evening that embassy staff in Beirut continued to make inquiries of local authorities and hospitals to determine if any other Australians were killed or hurt in the blast.

"At this stage, we have no further information on Australian fatalities or serious injuries. It may take some time to confirm the nationalities of all those affected, due to the high number of dual nationals in Lebanon."

The DFAT spokesperson said additional staff had been deployed to to support the embassy team in Beirut.

"We continue to encourage Australians in Beirut to follow the advice of local authorities, avoid the port area and monitor Smartraveller for updates."

Australian Associated Press