It takes years for a situation to be formed, but just a day for that situation to explode and turn into a devastating incident. It then also takes years for that situation, and it’s after-effects to come back to everyday life. One such situation happened just recently in Beirut on 4th of august. It was a terrible attack and a mighty explosion. “The strange thing about all this is how quiet everything became just at that moment. Everything, all of existence, covered in a thick still blanket of complete silence. “ these were the words by Dennis Sharpe. So, now let us look at the whole story.
In the given blog post, you will get an answer to all your questions regarding the Lebanon bomb blast. Be it a simple question like what is ammonium nitrate? Or why did the country for several years keep a bomb in waiting in a warehouse? I will also share my own opinion regarding the bomb blast that whether was it an accident or was it pre-planned and foreseen? Then later, this article will inform you about the outcomes and consequences that the country is facing and shall face in the future because of the same.
Beirut is the capital of the country of Lebanon. It has a population of 6.8 million, which includes millions of refugees. A fire broke out on August 4 ‘s early evening in the warehouse 12. A colossal storm like smoke rose from the fire, and this was overshadowed by an explosion which was so powerful that it shattered parts of Beirut. The pressure wave of it extended to all directions in the vicinity for about fifteen kilometres.
What is ammonium nitrate?
It is a flammable chemical used in fertilisers, rocket fuel and explosives. It is a hazardous substance, and it’s immediate or even short period of contact can cause burn or irritation to your skin and eyes. High levels of the substance can cause headache methemoglobinemia, lips and skin turn into blue colour and irritates and cause damage to our respiratory system. It hence is a very reactive substance.
What had happened?
It did not take much time for the evidence to come in front of all. It was not a ship with some weapons, fireworks or missiles. It was a building which had negligently stored 2,750 tonnes of a very hazardous chemical, ammonium nitrate in a warehouse since November 2013. In the same year, the MV Rhesus, which was a Moldovan flag cargo ship had arrived in the city with this cargo. The ship was heading towards Mozambique.
The officials of the port had impounded that ship because they said it was not seaworthy and they called the cargo as a dangerous one. It is estimated that the ammonium nitrate which was there in the cargo had arrived in the form of a nitro pill. Nitroprill is a blasting agent that is used in coal mines, and a little fire could cause drastic explosions which would have catastrophic consequences. The irony is that even the fireworks were stored in the same warehouse.
Later, six times between the years 2014 to 2017 the custom officials had asked the judge of urgent matters in the city of Beirut to guide them as to how are they supposed to dispose or sell-off that cargo. Now, an investigation is underway as to who was responsible for an incident like this. More than 19 officials, including the customs director and the director of the Port of Beirut, have been arrested.
Accident or Pre-planned?
Well, an accident is something that cannot be foreseen, and it should have no human agency responsible for what takes place as an incident to be called an accident.
In my opinion, the incident that happened on August 4, i.e. the explosion in Beirut was not at all an accident. The highly flammable cargo was held for six years in the warehouse. And it can be figured out that for those past six years the custom officials who had political affiliations and will leak out the reports about the danger that the warehouse possessed. Being aware of the possibility of an explosion, the authorities still did nothing for it.
Another view which hints this incident towards a pre-planned and a foreseen event is that it possibly could be an Israeli bomb attack which triggered a chain reaction by blowing up this huge an amount of ammonium nitrate.
Even the US president, Donald J. Trump stated that his generals informed him that the explosion in Beirut was caused because of a bomb attack. In accordance to some media reports, just after the Beirut explosion happened, many US reconnaissance planes flew in the vicinity of Beirut for conducting missions to reinforce the faith in the export community and to show that the country‘s intelligence has important data that suggests it as a bomb blast.
The suspect in the whole viewpoint is Israel Considering its reckless history of accurate targeting in Syria Which has caused a lot of collateral damage over the years. So it could be a military attack by the country who’s intensity they might or might not have foreseen before. So, the international community must come together and through the United Nations seek a factual investigation with facts and figures for this matter.
Around 203 people were confirmed dead. Nearly 6000 people were injured, and 3 million people got homeless, which includes 1 million children without shelter. In addition to all this, a lot of people were found missing.
Quite apart from all this, a lot of people lost their homes, jobs and livelihoods. Necessary supplies like that of water and electricity have also been impacted in the country. The country shall continue to suffer from the aftermath of the Beirut explosion for a very long time.
There was already a lot of crisis that was already prevalent in the country. Economic crisis, a political crisis, a health crisis because of the coronavirus and now this devastating explosion in Beirut have made the situation even worst.
Let’s look at the aftermath of this Beirut explosion in various aspects.
Ever since October 2019, the country has witnessed a lot of protests due to the deterioration of the social situation, economic balance, political and environmental crisis and corruption. It was more than nine months that protests for necessary essential supplies for life like electricity and water were going on. Even the French President Emanuel Macron had come to Beirut back then and had summoned a meeting and lectured the political leaders regarding statesmanship and they had made promises for reforms. But, ever since this incident of bombing happened, people have completely lost their trust and faith in the country’s government.
The country was designated as a country with upper – middle – income, but there were already a lot of inequalities, and the country was poverty-stricken because of the Syrian crisis. But lately, there has been an unbalance in the economy of the country. Now, more than 45% of the population is under the below poverty line, and 33% of the country‘s population is unemployed.
With the destruction of Beirut port came an unprecedented situation of food crisis as well. There was a grain silo of the country which had 85% of the countries cereals. It was the main storage facility of the country, but now even that has been destroyed. Even the harbour is destroyed, which was the main entry for the imported food in the nation. We do not know that for how much time will the port remain inoperative. So, half of the population in the country is struggling with food insecurity.
I want to elucidate the food crisis by giving an example that the staple food of the country is a flatbread made up of wheat. But, recently the prices for the same went up for the first time in the previous eight years and this lead to setting up another of another reason for protests in the country.
Lebanon, at one period of time, used to have a very advanced healthcare system in the whole Arab world. Howsoever, the bad policies of the Lebanese ruling class destroyed the very effective healthcare system, and the COVID-19 pandemic caused the same approach to face a collapse. Patients were not being accommodated well in the hospitals of the country because of the coronavirus.
According to the data, the country has 138 private hospitals and 26 government ones. Its medical equipment was imported, and 90% off the basic medicines were imported as well. However, the medical workers or the front lines of the COVID-19 were on a protest because of their insufficient pays.
There was already an ongoing crisis going on in the country because of the covid-19 pandemic, but this Beirut blast has caused the situation even worst. The hospitals of the city are now unable to cope up with the number of sufferings that the hazardous explosion has caused. The nearby hospitals were also heavily damaged because of the blast and are now overfilled with patients because of it.
In the end, I would like to mention that the whole scenario is a moral, economic, political and financial crisis whose first victim is and will be the Lebanese population. Let us all keep the people of the country in our prayers and pray and hope the best for them.