Beirut, once one of the most beautiful cities in the Mediterranean, ravaged by wars and corruption and now by an immense explosion that by all accounts has devastated up to half the city. Typical of Trump, he jumps to the conclusion that it was an attack and a bombing without any real thought to hold back on commenting until facts are known. Such loose, irresponsible talk is potentially very dangerous.
At this point is appears that this explosion was a result of incompetent or illegal storage of Ammonium Nitrate for several years, in fact 2700 metric tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate. The material has been responsible for several explosions in the past including one in 1947 when a ship loaded with Ammonium Nitrate in the harbour at Texas City, Texas exploded causing a chain of explosions and fires that killed 581 people.
The Ammonium Nitrate was also the primary ingredient in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 which killed 168 people.
It appears that the Beirut explosion has so far killed 200 people and injured several thousand, with up to 300,000 made homeless. These figures will increase once the true extent of the devastation is revealed. An indication of the size of this explosion is that it was felt 150 miles away in Cyprus to the extent that they thought it was an earthquake. It is estimated that the event was one of the largest ever on the planet, apart from nuclear explosions and certain cataclysmic volcanic explosions in history.
It is believed that several public officials have been placed on house arrest pending investigations into the cause of the tragic event.
The latest report is that at least 160 people have so far died although the total killed in this disaster is feared to be substantially higher. Three days of mourning have been declared in a country already suffering a serious economic crisis amid the pandemic. As if the situation couldn’t get worse, Lebanon’s government stepped down on Monday night (10th August) bringing the situation to an even more chaotic level. Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced his resignation together with the government. He described blast as a “disaster beyond measure.”
Our thoughts are with the people of Beirut
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To be continued