Controversial Issue & News: About the Beirut Explosion

Everyone has seen the news on the Beirut explosion at this point. The report has been covering for over a week now. Sadly, this event could have been prevented, but they didn’t handle it properly, which cost the lives of 160 people and injured up to 6,000 people. Many people have been displaced because their homes were damaged in the radius of the blast. Beirut is home to about 2 million people; the amount of people displaced from their homes is 300,000 people. So far, families have had to find shelter throughout the city though 500,000 people might need help in the coming of weeks. This is a horrible accident that has fallen on one of the biggest and busiest ports in the world.

Not only is Lebanon dealing with an increase in COVID-19 cases, but they now have to repair the damage to their capital city and port. This is a significant economic blow that has crippled them for the time being. Lebanon has been dealing with a multitude of issues since the COVID-19 virus hit. They have over 30% of the refugees from Syria that they are caring for, which has come down to a cost on the economic trade. They are having to cut corners to feed their people, such as reducing power, letting their people drink unsafe water, increase in hospital patients, unemployment, and even protests that have made the ensuing time even harder to deal with in the end.

World Vision organization is expected to help up to 120,000 people with their efforts. They have been working in the impacted area for about 11 years now, but they have been helping Lebanon since 1975. They are handing out supplies, food, clothing, and much more to the families they can help. Many other organizations are doing their best to help Beirut in the meantime.

Now, we get to the controversial part of the situation. The reason the blast actually happened is an unfortunate mistake they will have to live with. If you don’t know anything about silos, then this can be hard to understand unless told. The grain is very dangerous in powder form since it can be used for a lot of items. So, if you have something like ammonium nitrate in an open area near the silos like they did, then, of course, there was going to be a giant explosion. As stated before, Lebanon made some shady cuts to provide for its people. I will post a picture below to show you what I mean.

It’s hard not to write this out of anger because of the risks they took, which could have easily been prevented. All they had to do is put the ammonium nitrate far away from the silos in a sealed building. Instead, they put it in a warehouse next to the port and silos that weren’t protected like it needed to be. For those who do not know what ammonium nitrate is, then I will tell you. Ammonium Nitrate is a chemical that is used in mining explosives, which are mixed with fuel oil that can make an explosive device. Now, the other use is that it can be used as fertilizer, another small fact that was used to push the underlying disaster under the rug. This is a chemical that is used by construction workers when they do demolitions or mining groups, as said about. These are the two last items you do not want near each other ever. The blast radius created a 140 m (460 ft) crater. I will put a picture below that shows the damage of the blast. The impact of the explosion sent a shockwave that blew out Beirut’s International Aiport’s windows, which were 9 km (5 miles) away from ground zero. The blast was so big that people who live in Cyprus, which is 200 km (124 miles) across the Mediterranean Sea. The US Geological Survey said the blast was equivalent to a 3.3 earthquake. The supplies of ammonium nitrate had arrived in 2013 on a Moldovan Flagged cargo ship, the MV Rhpsus. Due to technical problems, the ship had to dock while it was sailing between Georgia to Mozambique. The boat, of course, ended up failing the inspection, which caused the crew to abandon the ship in port. The cargo was moved to one of the warehouses near the port. They were supposed to have a court date for the product, then dispose of or even sell the 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate. Pretty much, the warehouse was a ticking time bomb. Prime Minister Hassan Diab also said that the ammonium nitrate was not appropriately housed, which is what led to the disaster happening. The blast impact was as strong as 1500 tonnes of TNT exploding. That is 10th of what the Hiroshima nuclear bombs power. This is the biggest explosion recorded since the atomic bombs hit Japan. The ammonium nitrate started to decay, which caused it to harden into a rock-like substance. Since there was so much in one place where it had gather moisture over time, then a fire broke out, which caused the whole explosion. The Silos added on to the explosions since they were holding grain.

This is not the first time the world has dealt with an ammonium nitrate disaster. There was an incident in 1947 where a ship was carrying 2,000 tonnes of the supplies in which the chemical exploded, killing about 581 people in Texas, US. This is not a new situation to happen; it’s just an unfortunate incident because people didn’t want to deal with something this dangerous. All we can do now is hope that Lebanon will get the help it needs after this. This has been a bad year for everyone in the world. Now that one of the biggest ports is damaged, it will be hard to get supplies to Lebanon by port.

Some good news and bad news, President Aoun promised that a transparent investigation is to take place about this. There have already been 20 people arrested in which Prime Minister Diab commented on the disaster as being unacceptable. Prime Minister Diab resigned about seven days later. He blamed the government elitist for not taking the necessary precautions that were needed to prevent situations like this from happening. He had taken office this year before he stepped down after making a speech over the disaster.

@Discussions What do you have to say about the Beirut incident? How do you feel about the lack of ethical process that was used?


Well that’s a disappointing number of replies