The chemical cache that apparently exploded was not supposed to be in Lebanon, but arrived there on a troubled freighter. Now, Beirut residents are digging out of the devastation, looking for survivors, victims and answers.
Search is on for survivors after blast kills at least 135 and Still Counting.
According to a source, the chemicals which exploded – Ammonium Nitrate – was on it’s way to Mozambique in 2013 but made a detour to Beirut and because the owner failed to pay a port fee for the goods he was caring, the ship and the chemical substance was left there. Aware of the dangers ahead, the port authorities have been writing to the government from 2014 about getting rid of the substance.But all fell on deaf ears.
This can be aid as a lost war against the ill-serving government of Lebanon when this current catastrophe could have been avoided.
Rescue workers still struggling to treat thousands of people wounded in an enormous explosion that rocked Beirut turned their attention on Wednesday morning to the desperate search for survivors.
The blast, so powerful it could be felt more than 150 miles away in Cyprus, leveled whole sections of the city near the port of Beirut on Tuesday evening, leaving nothing but twisted metal and debris for blocks in Beirut’s downtown business district. It capsized a docked passenger ship, shattered windows miles away and registered on seismographs, shaking on the earth as strongly as a 3.3-magnitude earthquake.
The waterfront neighborhood, normally full of restaurants and nightclubs, was essentially flattened. A number of crowded residential neighborhoods in the city’s eastern and predominantly Christian half were also ravaged.
Nearly all the windows along one popular commercial strip had been blown out and the street was littered with glass, rubble and cars that had slammed into each other after the blast. The buildings that remained standing looked as if they had been skinned, leaving hulking skeletons.
The casualty toll continued to rise; the health minister, Hamad Hassan, told Lebanese media that at least 135 were confirmed dead and 5,000 were injured, and some people were still missing.
“What we are witnessing is a huge catastrophe,” the head of Lebanon’s Red Cross, George Kettani, told the Beirut-based news network Al Mayadeen. “There are victims and casualties everywhere.”
With electricity out in most of the city, emergency workers were limited in what they could do until the sun rose, when they joined residents digging through the wreckage even as fires still smoldered around them.
“We need everything to hospitalize the victims, and there is an acute shortage of everything,” Mr. Hassan said on Wednesday.