The port area of Beirut, Lebanon was shaken and horribly torn up by a truly massive explosion on August 4, 2020. Videos capturing the earth-shattering detonation are stunning and terrifying. On top of the devastation occurring in that moment, you know, people have just died.
Horrific, sobering, and tragic.
It appears that approximately 2700 tons of ammonium nitrate, a compound used in fertilizer, was the source of the massive explosion. Apparently, it had been stored in a warehouse in the heart of the port area since 2014 after being confiscated off a ship.
Questions are understandably already arising. Why had such a large amount of the dangerous material been left in this warehouse for so long? Under what conditions within the facility was it kept? And of course, what caused the ammonium nitrate to explode?
So far, most local officials seem to feel that it was a terrible accident. Investigations are already underway to try to figure out exactly what happened. Was negligence or corruption involved? Why hadn’t the dangerous material been moved elsewhere for more remote, secure storage? Why hadn’t it been disposed of in some way, especially considering it had been around since 2014?
Hopefully, we will learn some answers so that future tragedies such as this can be avoided.