Beirut port explosion devastates the city as seen in horrifying social media videos
On August 4, 2020, a giant explosion at a major port in Beirut, Lebanon killed hundreds and destroyed homes, businesses, and lives. The source of the explosion is still being investigated, but one thing is certain — the videos of the blast being circulated on social media are absolutely devastating. Most of these videos were taken by people who were working, eating outside, or simply taking a walk around the port when it exploded. Also, the videos below don’t even include the most graphic images from the scene as the area around the explosion now resembles a war zone.
Immediately, people wondered if the blast was due to a nuclear explosion, but Lebanese Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi said the explosion was apparently caused by dangerous ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at the port (via Lead Stories). The New York Times reports that there were more than 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored there and apparently, Lebanese officials have known about the dangerous substance for six years and failed to address the situation despite Lebanese customs officials constantly appealing to the court for guidance on how to safely dispose of the explosive material that they knew could ignite at any moment.
“I promise you that this catastrophe will not pass without accountability,” Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab said in a statement (via The New York Times). “Those responsible will pay the price. Facts about this dangerous warehouse that has been there since 2014.”
The explosion killed more than 100 people while 300,000 others are displaced. The blast was so powerful it was felt 150 miles away and has completely destroyed the port and blocks of the downtown business area. Local TV Station LBCI is constantly updating its list of missing persons.
The city is now struggling to provide aid for its citizens, especially considering that Lebanon has long been facing health, economic, and political crises — and this explosion has only made matters worse. Almost one-third of Lebanon’s population lives below the poverty line and their healthcare system has been seriously underfunded. Now, at least four large hospitals in Beirut were so damaged by the explosion that they cannot admit patients. Now add the pandemic on top of this, and Lebanon needs a lot of help.
The Slacktivists have organized a Google Doc with resources, petitions to sign, and places to donate to if you’d like to help the people of Lebanon.