International leaders call for urgent reform in aftermath of Beirut explosion

It's been a day of funerals and protest in Beirut as international leaders call for urgent reform in Lebanon.

The death toll from Wednesday's explosion is rising -  it's now 157. Another 5,000 are injured and up to 300,000 people have lost their homes. 

Ahmed Mohammed's children were caught in the blast - their tiny faces bare the marks of shattered glass. They're Syrian refugees - in Beirut to escape the horror, only to be met with it once more. 

"The most valuable things in my life are my children," their father said.

 "I wish I had taken the hurt and not them. I don't feel my injuries - and I see them like this." 

From the air and on the ground images show a city in ruins. Hundreds of thousands are homeless. 

Near the epicentre, search teams scoured the wreckage for the dead and injured.

But the lack of answers is fueling fury towards a Government seen as failing its people well before Wednesday's unprecedented events.

Dahej Mohsen, a father, says if something isn't done there will be a revolution. 

"If they cannot find our children, we will burn Lebanon", he says. 

"We will make a revolution." 

Another resident says they're treated like "cockroaches". 

"And our anger will only stop and we can only live again normally when we see those bastards in prison," said Diala Samakieh.

Some are already rebelling - protestors trying to storm Parliament were met with tear gas on Friday.

But French President Emmanual Macron received a hero's welcome when he arrived on Friday morning.

Locals asked for his help to change the regime. "Throw them all in jail", one man pleaded. 

France controlled Lebanon after World War 1 - thousands want the country to be under French rule again. 

Macron proposed a new political pact during his visit but said it was up to local leaders to act.

Three hospitals were totally destroyed in the blast and two others damaged. Nurses and doctors are overwhelmed with the thousands of injured. 

But there were some remarkable tales of survival including one bride whose wedding day photos capturing that terrible moment. 

Incredibly she managed to escape unscathed but Israa Seblani said she felt she was going to die.

A sentiment shared by many here but amid the shock there's solidarity - and shovels.

The Lebanese Honorary Consulate and members of the Lebanese community in New Zealand have set up a bank account for donations.

All proceeds will go to the International Red Cross in Lebanon. 

Lebanity Enterprise New Zealand Charitable Trust

Bank account number: 01-0190-0483014-01