Several videos from within the city show small fireworks going off before a massive explosion sends a huge shock blast throughout the city that had people miles away scrambling for cover.
Buildings miles away from the explosion have been brought down, including hospitals which have had to turn patients away due to lack of space. This is coming at a terrible time, especially in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Hassan Dieb, has said that the cause of the explosion is 2700 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate which has been stored in a warehouse for six years.
— Inez ? (@dealbase) August 4, 2020
An investigation has been started to find out exactly what happened and Lebanon’s Supreme Defence Council has said that those responsible for the explosion would face the “maximum punishment possible”.
President Aoun has declared a three-day mourning period and said the government would release 100 billion Lira ($66m) of emergency funds to help Lebanon cope with the damage.
“There are many people missing. People are asking the emergency department about their loved ones and it is difficult to search at night because there is no electricity,” Health Minister Hamad Hasan told Reuters.
Prime Minister Diab, during his address, spoke of a dangerous warehouse which had been on the port since 2014. This warehouse has also been the subject of warnings as far as back as the warehouse has been there.
Diab also called for international help: “I make an urgent appeal to friendly and brotherly countries… to stand by Lebanon and to help us heal our deep wounds,” he said.
— ???? (@K666lld) August 5, 2020
Ammonium Nitrate is a highly reactive chemical which is used widely for fertilizer but also for improvised explosives all over the world.
An update by Spectator Index says that the explosion was caused by the welding of a door.
“JUST IN: Lebanese sources report that the welding of a door caused sparks which ignited 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, which caused explosion at Beirut Port earlier today.”