Society | Emergency

Beirut Explosion: More Than 4000 Casualties, PM Declares Two Week State Of Emergency

Mayukh Bari05 August 2020 2:21PM IST
2 min read349

A huge explosion tore apart the port in Beirut, Lebanon on August 4. The explosion was so big that it was heard 125 miles away in Cyprus. Lebanon is already experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades, and now it must deal with the devastation caused by the catastrophic explosion. Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab has said those responsible will 'pay the price', before declaring the country in a two-week state of emergency.

The preliminary investigation suggests that the fatal explosion was from a storage of more than 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate which was stored in a firecracker warehouse. A spark from nearby welding started a fire. Firefighters were already present at the factory, dealing with it, when it detonated the ammonium nitrate, causing a huge and devastating explosion. The explosion reduced the nearby buildings to piles of rubble on the ground.

According to Red Cross, at least 100 were reported dead and more than 4,000 wounded. The head of Lebanon's Red Cross said in a statement: 'What we are witnessing is a huge catastrophe. There are victims and casualties everywhere.' An Israeli bomb expert has suggested fireworks could have been involved in the initial blaze, explaining that "you can see sparks, you can hear sounds like popcorn and whistles. This is very specific behaviour of fireworks."

So far, the UK, the United States, France, the Gulf states and even rivals Israel, have offered aid to the country. People in Beirut are being urged to stay indoors if they can, over fears of toxic gas being released by the blast. Beirut governor Marwan Abboud stating that as many as 250,000 people have been left homeless by the explosion. He said agencies are working to provide shelter, food and water.

In the meantime, US President Donald Trump told reporters that it "seems like" the devastating explosion was an "attack," citing purported conversations with US military officials. But Three Defense Department officials told CNN that there is no evidence suggesting that.