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At least six Syrians killed in Beirut explosion: activists

Local | 2020-08-05 09:09:04
At least six Syrians killed in Beirut explosion: activists
At least six Syrian people were killed in the massive warehouse explosion of Beirut on Tuesday as more than 100 people have lost their lives, according to activists and the Lebanese Red Cross.

Meanwhile, rescue workers are still digging through the rubble looking for survivors of the warehouse explosion that devastated many parts of Beirut, killing at least 100 people and injuring more than 4,000 in a toll that officials expected to rise.

An official with the Lebanese Red Cross said at least 100 people were killed and more than 4,000 were wounded. The official, George Kettaneh, said the toll could rise further.

It was unclear what caused the blast, which appeared to have been triggered by a fire and struck with the force of an earthquake. It was the most powerful explosion ever seen in the city, which was on the front lines of the 1975-1990 civil war and has endured conflicts with neighboring Israel and periodic bombings and terror attacks.

Lebanon was already on the brink of collapse amid a severe economic crisis that has ignited mass protests in recent months. Its hospitals are confronting a surge in coronavirus cases, and there were concerns the virus could spread further as people flooded into hospitals.
 
Witnesses reported seeing an orange cloud like that which appears when toxic nitrogen dioxide gas is released after an explosion involving nitrates.

Videos showed what looked like a fire erupting nearby just before, and local TV stations reported that a fireworks warehouse was involved. The fire appeared to spread to a nearby building, triggering the explosion, sending up a mushroom cloud and generating a shock wave.
 
The blast destroyed numerous apartment buildings, potentially leaving large numbers of people homeless at a time when many Lebanese have lost their jobs and seen their savings evaporate because of a currency crisis. The explosion also raises concerns about how Lebanon will continue to import nearly all of its vital goods with its main port devastated.

There is also the issue of food security in Lebanon, a tiny country already hosting over 1 million Syrians amid that country’s yearslong war.
 
Estimates suggest some 85% of the country’s grain was stored at the now-destroyed silos.

The size and scale of the Beirut explosion mirrored that of another major disaster involving ammonium nitrate. In 1947, a ship carrying some 2,200 tons of the chemical compound caught fire in Texas City, Texas, and exploded, causing a series of subsequent blasts at nearby oil facilities and a chemical plant. That disaster killed over 575 people and wounded another 4,000.


 

Zaman A Wasl
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