The capital of Lebanon, Beirut encountered a huge explosion on Tuesday, which took dozens of lives and injured thousands of Lebanese from across the city. This reportedly overwhelmed hospitals, as they are still battling with the coronavirus outbreak. Rushed to medical facilities are those wounded by shattered glass, and others are unconscious.

The incident in Beirut

At least 78 people were killed off by the gigantic blast in Beirut, also injuring over 4,000 citizens in the area, per the minister of health. Death toll could still increase as more bodies are being recovered.

The incident occurred near the city’s port. Footages of the explosion showed mushroom-like clouds of smoke, affecting establishments and homes miles away from the blast.  This includes breaking windows and tumbling vehicles from across the city, even reaching Cyprus. The eruption even caused an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.3.

Many people are now displaced from their uninhabitable residences. Shards of glasses from buildings are scattered everywhere. Streets were flooded with injured and wounded people as a huge smoke colored the sky red after the blast. The mishap only added to the economic struggle Lebanon, like other countries, is facing with the pandemic. The country is facing soaring unemployment and poverty rates, per the CNN.

Prrime minister of Lebanon Hasan Diba said: “There are many people missing until now. People are asking the emergency department about their loved ones and it is difficult to search at night because there is no electricity.”

The cause

The blame is pointed towards 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been sitting on a warehouse for six years, according to officials. The said chemical is a highly explosive component that are used in bombs.  Storage of ammonium nitrate were reported not to observe safety measures.

Hassan Diab called out the storage as “unacceptable” and mentioned those responsible will surely face “maximum punishment.” It was announced that the incident is going to undergo an investigation.

The response

US Embassy located in Beirut advised people to wear masks and stay indoors as there are reports of toxic gases that are released with the blast. Red Cross in Lebanon also asked the public for blood donations to aid the injured.

The Supreme Defense Council also suggested to declare the capital with a two-week state of emergency. Lebanon’s president stated that an emergency fund of 100 billion liras (US$66 million) would be released for this particular occurrence. 

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