What caused the explosion hasn’t been made clear yet to the public, but officials are saying the explosion was linked to some 2,700 tonnes of confiscated ammonium nitrate that were being stored in a warehouse at the port for the past six years. Videos on social media showed huge chunks of smoke followed by a large mushroom cloud.
The explosion comes at a time when Lebanon is faced with an economic crisis and serious health challenges. Tensions are also high ahead of Friday’s verdict in a trial over the killing of ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.
As a result of the explosion dozens of buildings, warehouses were destroyed. Authorities say more than 750,000 people live in the parts of the city that were damaged. The Governor of Beirut city, Marwan Abboud, has confirmed that up to 300,000 people have lost their homes and they are trying to provide aid for them.
The country’s Prime Minister has said that the explosion at the port is a “great national disaster” and Beirut city has been declared as a disaster-stricken city.
Today, Wednesday has been declared a national mourning day. President Michel Aoun has said an investigation to reveal the circumstances of what happened has been set up. He also declared a two-week state of emergency.
Many countries have offered help to the country, just after the Lebanese Prime Minister calls for help. Pope Francis has also offered prayers for those who lost their lives and the injured.
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