On Tuesday, the city of Beirut was rocked by a catastrophic explosion at its main port, creating a mushroom cloud that was powerful enough to overturn vehicles and destroy distant buildings. The blast was so severe that shockwaves travelled as far as Cyprus which is over a hundred kilometres away, while amounting to a 3.3 magnitude earthquake at Lebanon’s capital.
Nearly 80 casualties have been reported thus far, and over 4,000 people have been injured by the blast. There are still many more people that are unaccounted for, and the search for missing persons has been further hindered by the lack of electricity resulting from the blast. According to Lebanese state media, the explosion was allegedly caused by highly explosive materials that were confiscated back in 2014, but were stored at a warehouse facility by the port.
Given that Lebanon’s vital imports are predominantly received at the Port of Beirut, the explosion will create further disastrous consequences for the financially-strained country. Following the coronavirus outbreak, Lebanon’s imports nosedived significantly, falling by more than 41% since the beginning of the year. Although the country took proactive measures to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus, Lebanon’s prior financial and economic crisis created further crippling conditions for the country’s suddenly unemployed.
As a result of the massive explosion, the Port of Beirut has been completely destroyed, creating devastating consequences for the country of Lebanon. The port is the main point of entrance into the country, and is the largest and busiest of its kind along the Mediterranean seaboard. The country’s economic minister, Raoul Nehme announced that wheat which was stored in the now-destroyed port can no longer be used, thus devastating the country’s already-diminished food resources.
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