On Tuesday, there was a horrific explosion in the port of Beirut that ripped through the city and killed more than seventy people as well as injuring at least 4,000:
Lebanon’s health ministry said that at least 78 people had died and 4,000 suffered injuries in the explosions and fire that shook Beirut on Tuesday.
The numbers climbed steadily through the day, and with the wounded still streaming into hospitals and the search for missing people underway, they were likely to go higher still.
The blast appears to have been caused when a fire set off a huge store of ammonium nitrate that had been confiscated from a ship and kept at the port for the last six years. Such a huge quantity of explosive material was a disaster waiting to happen, and the citizens of Beirut have suffered a devastating blow as a result. The Lebanese prime minister has vowed that there will be accountability for those responsible for keeping this material there. Initial reports and video show that the city’s port has been wrecked, and it is not known at this time how long it will take to repair and resume operations there.
Lebanon was already suffering from a severe economic and financial crisis exacerbated by U.S. sanctions on Iran and Syria, and the country was also coping with a serious coronavirus outbreak. Lebanon’s hospitals were already under strain because of the pandemic, and now they are being overwhelmed by the huge number of people injured in the blast. The port explosion affected the entire city and was felt as far away as Cyprus. The damage from the blast was massive and far-reaching.