Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, is reeling from massive explosions.
On Tuesday night, the port city experienced two explosions – the second being enormously bigger than the first – that has killed 100 people and injured over 4,000 with numbers expected to rise. The second explosion emitted a shock wave that crumbled buildings and shattered glass miles away, with reports of people feeling the blast on the island of Cyprus. Search and rescue operations are currently under way, but many people remain missing.
What Caused the Explosions?
Authorities aren’t entirely sure. It’s believed that the first explosion came from a fireworks warehouse at the port. The second and more disastrous blast that had the strength of a magnitude 3.3 earthquake, came from a 2,750-tons of ammonium nitrate located nearby, a highly explosive material that’s often used as fertilizer.
Investigations are currently underway to determine if the blasts were accidents or intentional.
It is believed that the chemicals that exploded originated from a Russian-owned ship that stopped in Beirut in 2013. The ship was abandoned, and its cargo is believed to have been offloaded into warehouses in the port where the explosions occurred.
Things Were Already Bad Before.
Before the explosions, Lebanon was experiencing a series of troubles already. The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on the country with cases on the rise, and the value of their currency has plunged amidst economic and social unrest. Protests have recently erupted over the mismanagement of the government by political elites.
Now, more 85% of the countries grain, which was stored in silos at the port, has been destroyed. Beirut also acts as a critical link in the country’s supply chain, with a majority of the country’s food and medicine passing through the city. 750,000 people live in parts of the city that were damaged, and over 300,000 have been displaced.
How Can I Help?
As of now, the best way to help the people of Beirut is to spread awareness and donate. One of the best and most trustworthy ways to give is through the Lebanese Red Cross. You can download their app through your phone’s app store and donate there. Also consider researching groups centered on Lebanese communities and making direct impacts.