Explosion Devastated Beirut

By Colin Wang

In Beirut, the capital of Lebanon huge explosions have killed over 135 people and have injured thousands of citizens.  On August 4 at around 6 P.M. there was an explosion at the Port of Beirut where ships arrive to load or unload shipments.  The port has many warehouses to store things like grain to make into flour. There was a fire at one of the warehouses that set off the first explosion. Then a huge second explosion followed that was so strong it could be felt over 150 miles (240 kilometers) away.  The effects were like an earthquake, collapsing roofs, shattering windows, falling buildings, and cars flipping.  It reminded many people of the war times.  The damage was so tremendous that it still isn’t clear how many people were affected but they do know that at least 135 were killed with almost 5,00 people being injured and around 300,000 people left homeless.  With hospitals full of patients with COVID-19 it is very difficult to help the injured.  The streets are filled with debris so it’s very hard to drive through the streets.  Most of the port has been destroyed along with the neighborhoods around it.  Reconstruction will be hard because they need the port to bring in supplies.  The explosion also destroyed Beirut’s second-largest supply of grain.  Lebanon has been going through a food shortage amid coronavirus and the loss of the grain has made the shortage worsen.  Many countries from around the world have sent support teams and emergency supplies to try to help.  A warehouse at the Port of Beirut had 5,500,000 pounds (2,500,000 kilograms) of ammonium nitrate.  It is mainly used in fields to help plants grow but it can also be used to make explosives.  In 2014, the government acquired the ammonium nitrate from a ship that no longer had an owner and stored it in a warehouse for safekeeping.  Not much was done to make sure that it was stored safely.  It isn’t clear who was responsible for storing the material but the government says it will investigate it. 



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