SHELL-SHOCKED: Dramatic video shows a bride in Beirut shooting wedding photos when thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate exploded in Lebanon's capital Tuesday, with at least 100 dead, thousands injured and homeless and a desperate search for survivors. https://t.co/HlYnbUi32J pic.twitter.com/MaI1hTaYgU
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) August 5, 2020
Tons of dangerously explosive material left to rot, in close proximity to the city’s main grain storage and the one entry port for essential supplies, after being impounded from a Macedonian vessel of uncertain ownership, while the civil servants responsible for oversight passed the buck… Astonishing interactive report from BBC World News, “The Inferno and the Mystery Ship”:
… It had started with a fire in the port. Even now it’s not clear the precise time the blaze started.
But by 17:54 local time, a tweet from a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times showed the smoke billowing into the sky.
What followed has been shown in a series of videos posted on social media. There is an initial explosion which throws denser, darker smoke and debris into the air.
A series of flashes can be seen, almost like fireworks going off. An intense area of flame can be seen at the base of the smoke.
Then, 35 seconds after the first blast, there is a second, massive explosion. A huge column of red/brown smoke goes up and a white dome-like cloud follows the blast out.
Scores dead. Thousands injured. The heart of a city destroyed.
And at the centre of it, a warehouse full of nearly 3,000 tonnes of a chemical used for explosive. Ammonium nitrate…
Just a reminder that a fifth of Lebanon's total population are refugees. A small country collapsing under a series of calamities is coping with more than any current Western society could imagine. https://t.co/BUukoCoWEj
— Ishaan Tharoor (@ishaantharoor) August 4, 2020
To add: Local wheat production only covers about 10% of Lebanese consumption. The remainder is imported – principally from Russia. Almost all imported grain (80%+) enters trough that single terminal at the heart of the explosion. Utter disaster. The gov will have to move quick. https://t.co/ch7ofnIqk0
— Tobias Schneider (@tobiaschneider) August 4, 2020
Thank Murphy the Trickster God, America is a big rich sprawling country with a (steadily decreasing) excess supply capacity, and plenty of room to memory-hole the occasional industrial “accident”…
The devastating Beirut explosion was caused by ammonium nitrate.
A similar 2013 explosion in West, TX led to the Obama admin installing new safety requirements to prevent future ammonium nitrate tragedies.
The Trump admin reversed them in 2019.@joellooperhttps://t.co/j2uuTP0x44
— Nicholas Grossman (@NGrossman81) August 5, 2020