Written by Kashia
*This article was written in the summer of 2020 and is reflective of the information available at that time
|On August 4th 2020, in the capital of Lebanon, many people were caught unprepared and surprised by the sudden explosion in Beirut. The governor of BeirutIt has described it as being similar to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some experts have even said that the blast was comparable to several tons of TNT. This tragedy caused much harm and injuries to many. Damages to buildings were not small as rubble can be seen scattered everywhere in the streets from posted videos of the aftermath of the explosion. The homes of many people were also destroyed leaving them homeless and vulnerable. People as far as 150 miles away were able to feel the blast.
The people of Beirut have suffered numerous casualties with more than 100 people killed. As many as 5,000 people were left injured and around 300,000 were left displaced from their homes. Many people are still left under rubbles of buildings that were broken down in the explosion and are still in need or rescue. Hospitals are filled with people in need and with the coronavirus still going around, hospitals have more than enough on their hands. Many countries such as Germany, France, Turkey, Iran, and Egypt have offered assistance and aid including rescue and recovery specialists. Many other countries have offered their condolences to Beirut and it’s people.
At first, many people were left in shock and confusion. The sudden explosion was something that no one knew would happen. The day after the explosion, people were angered to learn that the possible cause of the explosion may have been because of the storage of large amounts. This included 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate in unsuitable and unstable climate conditions. The fact that officials knew the dangers but did not act fast enough to prevent the tragedy has caused the outrage of many people.
The origins of the ammonium nitrate dated back to 2013 from a Russian cargo ship that was supposed to have gone to Mozambique. However, the ship ended up stopping in Beirut because of financial issues and as a result, never left the port. The ship was impounded by the Lebanese officials and the ammonium nitrate was left in a port warehouse. Despite requests for it to be sent out, nothing happened for six years. Now with the explosion, many are blaming the Lebanese officials for keeping the ammonium nitrate in a warehouse without proper safety measures, endangering the lives of many civilians. The fact that the port warehouse where the ammonium nitrate was stored was so close in distance to places where people frequent caused even more horror.
Many lives were lost and many people are still injured. Buildings such as stores, places of work and homes have all been destroyed within the vicinity and have left many vulnerable. The rise of COVID-19 cases makes matters even worse. With so much confusion, it has been difficult for people to know what safety precautions they can even take.
The blast spared no one in Lebanon’s capital, leaving the city in ruins.