Lebanon Explosion: Massive Blast In Beirut Kills Over 70, Injures Thousands

2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilisers and bombs, was stored for six years at the port without safety measures, causing the incident.

Jessica David

August 5, 2020

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1 min

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A powerful blast in a port warehouse near central Beirut storing highly explosive material killed 78 people and injured nearly 4,000 people on Tuesday (August 4). The blast’s impact sent seismic shockwaves that shattered windows, smashed masonry and shook the ground across the capital city of Lebanon. Officials said they expected the death toll to rise further as emergency workers dug through rubble to rescue people and remove the dead. It was the most powerful explosion in years in Beirut, which is already reeling from an economic crisis and a surge in Coronavirus infections.

President Michel Aoun said that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, used in fertilisers and bombs, had been stored for six years at the port without safety measures, and said it was simply “unacceptable.” He called for an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday (August 5) and said a two-week state of emergency would be declared. Hours after the blast, which struck shortly after 6 p.m. (1500 GMT), a fire still blazed in the port district, casting an orange glow across the night sky as helicopters hovered and ambulance sirens sounded across Beirut.

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