A massive explosion devastated Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon, on Tuesday, leaving more than 100 dead and 4000 injured. The number of casualties is expected to increase as rescue operations are underway and many have been reported as missing.
Morgues and hospitals in the city have been overwhelmed with bodies and injured people while the Beirut mayor said that the damage is estimated at $3-5 billion.
Though initially the cause could not be ascertained, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said on Wednesday morning that the blast occurred due to about 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive material, stored at a port warehouse for the past six years "without preventive measures."
Experts opine that the blast could
have been caused by more than
just ammonium nitrate.
The Prime Minister has announced an investigation into the explosion. He further promised to find those responsible for what happened, hold them accountable, and award maximum punishment. Experts opine that the blast could have been caused by more than just ammonium nitrate.
The explosion took place near Beirut's port and central district, close to many densely-populated areas and tourist sites. It resulted in shattered glass, flipped over cars and even caused some homes to crumble. Homes as far as 10 kilometers away were damaged. Shockingly, it was even felt 240 kilometers away on the island of Cyprus, where it was registered as a 3.3 magnitude earthquake.
With COVID-19 infections on the rise, hospitals in the country are struggling to treat the countless injured in the blast that took place at a time when the country is facing an economic crisis. Since Lebanon imports most of its food and large quantities of grain stored in the port have been destroyed in the blast, there are mounting fears of food shortages in the days to come.
The international community must provide assistance in terms of rescue operations and food supply to the devastated nation in the wake of this horrible tragedy.