Lebanon explosion rocks Beirut: Thousands injured

On Tuesday, a huge explosion ripped across central Beirut which killed tons of people, injuring thousands, and blowing out windows in buildings throughout the city.

The explosion that took place near Beirut’s port sent up a large mushroom cloud-shaped shockwave, rolling over cars, and even destroying distant buildings. It could be experienced till Cyprus, which is hundreds of miles away, and recorded as a 3.3 magnitude earthquake in the Lebanese capital.

Hassan Diab, Lebanon’s Prime Minister, stated that 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, exceedingly explosive material utilized in producing fertilizers and bombs, had been retained for six years at a port warehouse without safety precautions, “endangering the safety of citizens,” as per the statement.

The Prime Minister termed the storage of the material “unacceptable” and asked for an examination into the reason for the blast, with the outcome to be released in the forthcoming five days, the statement read.

Abbas Ibrahim, Lebanon’s General Security chief stated that the “highly explosive material” had been seized some years ago and kept in the warehouse, which is just minutes’ walk from Beirut’s shopping and nightlife areas. 

The primary reports accused the explosion of a large fire at a storehouse for firecrackers near the port, in accordance with a Lebanese state news agency NNA.

The number of people killed from the blast is likely to keep on rising as even more dead bodies are being drawn from the wreckage. A minimum of 78 casualties are known to have happened and at least 4,000 people are known to be injured, Hamad Hasan, the country’s health minister stated, as per Reuters.

“There are many people missing until now,” Hasan told. “People are asking the emergency department about their loved ones and it is difficult to search at night because there is no electricity. We are facing a real catastrophe and need time to assess the extent of damages.”, he further added. 

A red cloud was witnessed over the city as a result of the massive explosion, which happened after 6 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET), as firefighting teams hurried to the place to try and extinguish the initial fire. Video footage from the scene caught the wounded staggering through streets, along with ambulances, cars, and military vehicles stuffed with the injured people. One resident even stated that the scenes could be witnessed “like an apocalypse.”

A minimum of 10 firefighters have gone missing, stated Marwan Abboud, who is the city’s governor and added that this setting remembered him of “Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

“In my life, I haven’t seen destruction on this scale,” Abboud told. “This is a national catastrophe.”

The blast took place during a strenuous time in Lebanon. On Friday, a United Nations-backed panel is anticipated to give out a verdict on the 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri, a former prime minister, a step that numerous people fear will inflame sectarian stress. The country is also experiencing an economic breakdown, with increasing unemployment, a slumping currency, and poverty rates towering beyond 50%.

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