Satellite images of Beirut reveal the massive amount of damage caused by the Ammonium nitrate accident that occurred near the port on Tuesday. Experts are saying; the wave was just equivalent to that of a small nuclear bomb.
The fire started in a nearby firecracker’s warehouse, which ignited the explosion in a matter of seconds. The wave produced from the blast was so strong that it turned surrounding structures into dust. It wiped off the whole port, and nearby buildings transformed into fractured concrete columns.
The death toll has gone up to 135, and authorities are expecting the number to rise as bodies are being taken out of the rubble. Quite a few critical patients died in the hospitals, which are resulting in a continuous increase in deaths. Around 5000 people got severely injured, and hundreds are missing; the city is in a state of chaos and distress since the explosion.
The latest cause of the explosion is said to be that a welder accidentally created a fire that got out of hands in the warehouse where 2750 metric tonnes of the explosive liquid was stored without adequate safety precautions.
Experts suggest the monetary damage to the port city would rise to $5Billion. Given that Lebanon’s economy is already struggling, it would be years to recover from this catastrophic occasion even with international aid in place. Apart from the infrastructure and buildings, most of which are nearly destroyed, the damage flows out to 300,000 people who are left homeless with no hopes of government intervention at all.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab is confident that whoever is responsible will “pay the price” before declaring a two-week state of emergency to confront the national crisis. Diab asked world leaders and “friends of Lebanon” to donate what they can, saying: “We are witnessing a real catastrophe.” Port security officials were placed to house arrest after a cabinet vote. However, the customs officials are blaming the government for not taking action even after being warned of the danger multiple times.
The U.S, U.K, Gulf states, France, and even Israel have offered financial and logistical assistance as President Michel Aoun announced three days of mourning, declaring his aim to release $66 million of emergency funds. As the world takes in the shock of what happened in Beirut on Tuesday, the new satellite imagery shows us how necessary are the safety measures for keeping the industrial-grade chemical reserves.