Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, was hit by a severe disaster. Tuesday’s blast killed at least 137 people, injured 5,000 and left 300,000 citizens homeless.*
At the time of the explosion a well-known Slovenian human rights activist was also in Beirut, Tomo Križnar. He told the national broadcaster RTV SLO: »It flashed the way we see in movies during nuclear explosions … It came in two waves, suddenly everything was blown out, then we were enveloped in a black night …«
Due to improper storage, 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, seized on a ship years ago, exploded in the port of Beirut. Ammonium nitrate is used as a fertilizer and explosive.
The city is badly damaged. »Beirut needs food, Beirut needs clothes, houses, materials to build houses. Beirut needs space for refugees,« says Beirut Governor Marvan Abud.
Many countries, organizations and individuals have sent planes to the rescue with paramedics, medical staff and medical equipment.
The tragedy in a city that has experienced several devastating wars in the last fifty years is a reminder of how severe the effects can be of the negligence and indifference of the authorities in ensuring the safety of the people.
The Beirut explosion is »arguably one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history,« British experts said. It had about a tenth of the explosive power of a nuclear bomb dropped by the U.S. on the Japanese city of Hiroshima during World War II on August 6, 1945. Eighty thousand people died instantly, and tens of thousands later died from radiation exposure.
At 8.15 am local time, exactly 75 years after the atomic bomb exploded over the city, a bronze peace bell rang in Hiroshima yesterday. There will never be a nuclear war only if nuclear weapons are completely removed, warned United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Points to Consider
- Have you heard of any other tragedy in Lebanon?
- Do you know how to react if something explodes?
- How people should store dangerous things?
The original version of this article was published on August 7th.