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Huge Explosion In Lebanon’s Capital City, Here’s What You Need To Know

Huge Explosion In Lebanon’s Capital City, Here’s What You Need To Know

Many killed, thousands injured and the city is in ruins.

Akmal Hakim

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A massive explosion shocked Beirut, Lebanon on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, causing widespread damage and killing nearly 100 people while around 4,000 others were left injured.

Live updates: Lebanon explosion rocks capital city Beirut
Aftermath near the explosion site in Beirut.
(CNNHussein Malla/AP)

What you need to know: Footage of the explosion had gone viral all over the world. Shockwaves from the blast destroyed and damaged homes and other buildings across the city. The explosion had originated from a warehouse located at the city’s seaport, close to population centers. The explosion was so huge that it even triggered a 3.5 magnitude earthquake. The cause of the blast is unclear, however, Lebanese authorities linked the explosion to a stockpile of confiscated ammonium nitrate – an industrial chemical found in fertilizer as well as explosives – stored at the port for 6 years. Search and rescue operations are underway.

Why it matters: The explosion had reportedly destroyed 3 hospitals in Beirut and left 2 others damaged, crippling the city’s response to the disaster. This is made more concerning as the country is also facing difficulties with the Covid-19 pandemic, reporting more than 5,000 cases of infections. The country had also recently reimplemented lockdowns amid rising outbreaks. Reportedly, the Lebanese economy was also at a crisis as an immediate result of the pandemic and years of economic slowdowns with poverty and unemployment rampant. The country might also face a food crisis as a result of the explosion as it’s said that 85% of Lebanon’s imported wheat supply was stored at the city port.

Who said what: Following the disaster, Lebanese President Michel Aoun had called for a two-week state of emergency and declared a three-day morning period in respect to the tragedy. Lebanon’s Supreme Defence Council said that investigations are underway to identify the exact cause of the incident and punish those who were responsible. The international community offers its condolences and have stepped in to offer aid. Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said on Twitter that Malaysia was prepared to offer any help that we can. Luckily, no Malaysians were hurt by the tragedy.

Meanwhile, United States (US) President Donald Trump believes that the explosion had been a “terrible attack” on Lebanon caused by “some kind of bomb”.

Read more:
Lebanon eyes state of emergency as Beirut death toll climbs: Live [Al Jazeera]
What we know about the Beirut blast [CNN]
Beirut blast: Dozens dead and thousands injured, health minister says [BBC]
Two huge Beirut explosions kill 73, injure thousands [The Borneo Post]
COVID-19 spreads in Lebanon despite lockdown [Arab News]
Food fears after grain stockpile destroyed [The Guardian]
Lebanon’s financial crisis is spinning out of control as bread prices rise for the first time in 8 years and people fall deeper into poverty [Business Insider]


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