A powerful explosion rumbled the very foundations of Lebanon on Tuesday evening, around 6pm. A fire at a warehouse at Beirut’s port preceded the major explosion, having enough force to overturn cars, shatter glass from windows, and shake buildings across the city.
The head of Lebanon’s general security service, Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, initially divulged that “highly explosive materials” were stored at the site. The Lebanese Prime Minister, Mr Diab Aoun, later revealed,
“I will not relax until we find the responsible party for what happened, hold it accountable, and apply the most serious punishments against it because it isn’t acceptable that a shipment of ammonium nitrate—estimated to be 2,750 tons—was in a depot for the past six years without precautionary measures being taken.”
At least 78 people have been killed and 4,000 more injured, with the death toll showing no signs of decreasing. This is mainly because the explosion badly damaged health facilities, leaving the remaining overwhelmed, to the extent that they were turning the wounded away.
Thankfully, the Lebanese Red Cross Society is not relenting. They claimed that they were dispatching every ambulance from North Lebanon, Bekaa, and South Lebanon to Beirut to help patients. Even then, the Health Minister, Hamad Hasan, remarked,
“There are many people missing until now. People are asking the emergency department about their loved ones, and it is difficult to search at night because there is no electricity. We are facing a real catastrophe and need time to assess the extent of damages.”
“What is the International Community doing about this upsetting turn of events?” you may ask:
President Trump has referred to the incident as a “terrible attack”. Though neither the Prime Minister nor the Head of Security had yet to call it such. In his words,
“We (as in the United States) have a very good relationship with the people of Lebanon and we will be there to help. Looks like a terrible attack.”
When asked if he was confident it was an attack, the President said, “it seems like” it was, based on reports from the US military officials. “…they seem to think it was an attack. It was a bomb of some kind.”
The German Chancellor also expressed her condolences as well,
“Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones. We wish the wounded a speedy recovery. We will offer Lebanon our help,” she said, through a tweet from her spokesperson, Ulrike Demmer.
The Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, as well as the Israeli President, Reuvin Rivlin, also expressed their condolences. They also offered humanitarian medical assistance to the people of Lebanon.
Still on the issue, Mr Diab seethed,
“What happened today will not come to pass without accountability. Those responsible will pay a price for this catastrophe. This is a promise to the martyrs and wounded people. This is a national commitment.”
This disastrous incident is so depressing and alarming in a world that is currently being ravaged by a deadly virus. Remember to offer a prayer of recovery to those who are currently under treatment from this incident, and similar others.