Abstract:On the evening of Wednesday (August 5), a large explosion occurred in the port area of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, causing at least 78 deaths and 4,000 injuries, as well as damage to a large number of buildings. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation. A source in the intelligence agency said that the Lebanese National Security Agency launched an investigation into Beirut port over a large amount of ammonium nitrate five months ago.
On the evening of Wednesday (August 5) local time, a large explosion occurred in the port area of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, causing at least 78 deaths and 4,000 injuries, as well as damage to a large number of buildings. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation. A source in the intelligence agency said that the Lebanese National Security Agency launched an investigation into Beirut port over a large amount of ammonium nitrate five months ago.
Residents said the explosion site was “comparable to a nuclear explosion” and the hospital was overwhelmed
The data collected by the US Geological Survey shows that the seismic waves generated by the explosion are equivalent to a magnitude 3.3 earthquake, and the actual power is even greater than a magnitude 3.3 earthquake. Nearby residents described the explosion as "like an atomic bomb (explosion)".
Al Jazeera reporters said that the vicinity of the explosion site looked like a piece of "ruins" and said that "the car was bombed on the roof of the three-story factory."
Other witnesses said that the explosion was like a volcanic eruption. The sound of the explosion and the rising smoke could be heard and seen from several kilometers away; “broken glass rain” fell on the entire Beirut city.
For this country struggling with the new crown epidemic and the economic crisis, this sudden disaster was worse: Beirut’s hospital was quickly overwhelmed, and the injured had to be sent outside the city for treatment.
The explosion caused serious damage to the local hospital, and at the same time, patients were still coming in and the hospital was overcrowded.
The New York Times reported that St. George's Hospital, the largest in downtown Beirut, was severely damaged in the explosion. Dozens of patients and visitors were injured by falling objects and splashing glass from the explosion.
Lebanese Minister of Public Health Muhammad Hasan Hassan said: "Beirut Hospital is already overcrowded and the injured should be sent to hospitals in other provinces and cities."
Photos taken by the Lebanese Prime Minister's Office exposed by CNN showed that the interior of the building was also damaged. According to reports, the building is about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) away from the explosion site.
The US Embassy in Beirut issued a statement saying that there was news that the explosion had released toxic gases and it was recommended that people wear masks and stay indoors.
Many politicians, including US President Trump, German Chancellor Merkel, Australian Prime Minister Morrison, and Israeli Foreign Minister, expressed their views on this.
The intelligence agency issued a warning about the large amount of ammonium nitrate in Beirut port 5 months ago: extremely dangerous
Regarding explosives, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab stated that the explosion was caused by improper storage of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate in the port for 6 years. It is reported that ammonium nitrate is mainly used as a high-nitrogen fertilizer in agriculture and is also a powerful explosive, which can cause harm even in production and storage. The chemical was also responsible for the fatal explosion at the Toulouse chemical plant in 2001.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab stated that it is necessary to declare a two-week state of emergency in the capital. The Supreme Defense Council meeting requested that the person responsible for the explosion be confirmed within five days. The meeting also pointed out that the families of the victims of the explosion will receive compensation, and the imported goods will be shipped to the port of Tripoli in northern Lebanon.
An intelligence source pointed out that “the national security agency requested an investigation into the explosives in the warehouse No. 12 in Beirut Port 5 months ago.” The investigation determined that the substance in the warehouse was extremely dangerous.
According to sources, the explosives were once on a ship flying the flag of an African country. These explosives were abandoned by the shipper due to huge debts several years ago.
It is currently unknown whether the Chinese were included in the casualties. The Chinese Embassy in Lebanon reminded Chinese citizens in Lebanon to strengthen security and pay close attention to the reminders issued by the Lebanese government. In case of emergencies, please call the police as soon as possible and contact the Chinese Embassy in Lebanon for assistance.
The cause of the accident is still under further investigation.