Lebanon is in mourning after a massive explosion ripped through the city’s port and surrounding areas killing at least 78 people and injuring 4,000 others on Tuesday. The blasts sent shock waves across the city damaging buildings up to 10 kilometers away shuttering windows, collapsing roofs and rendering homes inhabitable.
The blast happened at 6.08pm local time on Tuesday, was so powerful it was felt in Cyprus, 120 miles away. A woman in the city center on Tuesday told AFP. ” It felt like an earthquake……I felt it was bigger than the explosion in the assassination of Rafic Hariri in 2005.”
Video footage of the second blast showed an enormous orange fireball that dwarfed nearby buildings and sent a devastating tornado-like shock wave ripping through the city. ” we saw the mushroom deafening explosion.” said one resident who witnessed the second. ” The force of the blast threw us backwards into the apartnent.”
A two- week state of emergency has been recommended by the president, after authorities blamed a huge store of highly reactive chemical ammonium nitrate as the cause of the explosions. Lebanon’s prime minister Hassan Diab said that 2,750 metric tonnes of ammonium nitrate,which is typically used as agricultural fertilizer, had been stored for six years at a port warehouse without safety measures, ” endangering the safety of citizens” according to a statement.