A pair of explosions shook Lebanon’s capital city Beirut on the after of 4th August (Tuesday). The casualties have surpassed 100 people and the blasts have left nearly thousands of people heavily injured. Beirut explosions have definitely shaken the country more than one can imagine.
Prior to the catastrophic explosion, the port of the city caught a large fire which eventually spread to the nearby warehouses. Shortly after, there was a large first explosion following which there was a chain of small blasts. Then came the second blast, 30 seconds later which shot a supersonic shock wave through the entire city, shattering glasses for miles. The wave caused serious damage to property and life.
Most of the buildings around the port area were left to the ground and many were rendered homeless after the explosions in Beirut
The immediate dockside area has been completely destroyed and now is replaced by a 140 meters wide crater filled with seawater.
President of the country, Michel Aoun cites 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that was stored unsafely at the port’s warehouse as the cause of the explosion.
Ammonium nitrate is a compound widely used as a source of nitrogen in fertilizers used in agriculture. However, if the small pellets of the chemical are mixed with the fuel they make explosives that are used by construction and mining industries.
The government hasn’t yet named a source from where ammonium nitrate came yet the same amount of chemical arrived in a Russian owned cargo ship named MV Rhosus. The ship docked in Beirut in November 2013.
The said vessel was to travel from Georgia to Mozambique and docked mid-way in Beirut’s port due to technical issues. Soon after the ship was abandoned and the cargo was shifted to Warehouse 12 of the port. The stored chemical was to be either resold or to be disposed of as per the court orders.
Aoun country’s President did promise for a “transparent” examination of the blasts. The Prime Minister called the conditions that led to the two explosions as “unacceptable”.
President visited the collapsed area and assured “we are determined to go ahead with an investigation and unveil the circumstances surrounding what happened as soon as possible and hold those responsible and those who were negligent accountable and serve them the most severe punishment”.
Documents that have been circulating the net apparently show the attempts to reach the judiciary for guidance by custom officials from 2014 to 2017. The Lebanese public sees the promise of an investigation as an attempt to dodge the blame.
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