The devastating and mysterious explosion that swept through much of Lebanon’s capital Beirut on Aug. 5 caused a seismic impact comparable to that of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima at the end of World War II in 1945.
“Beirut is a city of disasters and the scale of the damage is enormous,” Beirut Gov. Marwan Abboud said, adding that it was a “national disaster akin to Hiroshima,” according to Muslim News.
The impact was felt even in Cyprus, the island located 164 miles from Beirut and numerous shocking videos flooded social networks.
— eurochan.org (@eurochandotorg) August 4, 2020
“Driving to Beirut at sunset, when it was still light, was absolute chaos. The streets were literally covered with glass. It was difficult for ambulances to pass through, there were bricks and cement slabs. The houses had collapsed,” said journalist Sunniva Rose, according to the BBC.
“There was still smoke rising into the sky late at night. The whole city was black. It was very difficult to walk, people were covered in blood,” Rose continued her frightening story.
“It was pandemonium in my own flat, all the glass was shattered. The extent of the damage is extreme. Even in a shopping mall a mile away, the entire facade had been shattered,” Rose added.
"ما بدي موت"… كلمات كل اللبنانيين…
— Lay🇱🇧 (@layymoune) August 4, 2020
The cause of the giant explosion has not been officially reported, and some attribute it to some 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate left for six years in a warehouse at the Beirut port.
President Michel Aoun tweeted it was “unacceptable” that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored unsafely.
The number of deaths from the Beirut explosion has risen to 135, with 5,000 injured, and 300,000 people left homeless.
“Whatever the cause of the explosion, including the possibility that a large amount of ammonium nitrate was stored in an unsafe manner, Amnesty International is calling for the rapid establishment of an international mechanism to investigate how this happened,” said Amnesty International’s UK-based acting secretary-general, according to Al-Jazeera.
The Lebanese authorities declared a two-week state of emergency in the capital and handed over control of security to the military following the catastrophic explosion.
The explosion comes at a sensitive time for Lebanon, which is going through an economic crisis, but the international community is moving to provide humanitarian aid to alleviate the hardships of those affected by the explosion.