Yesterday, August 4, the video of explosions in Beirut, the capital and the largest city of Lebanon was posted on social networks.
Mass media report about a large number of wounded and deceases. The surroundings of the incident city turned into ruins. It is hard for ambulances to get there. People urged not to panic and donate blood. Initially, there was a version that the emergency took place at the pyrotechnic storage. However, Director-General of the security of Lebanon disagreed, stating “it is ridiculous to discuss fireworks”.
“Something exploded near the city port,” the majority of the Lebanese mass media reported, rejecting the terrorist act.
According to Al Mayadeen: “Preliminary, the explosion at the port is not the terrorist act”.
- The number of deceased and wounded constantly grows. According to the latest data, as of the morning of August 5, the number of deceased surpassed 100 people, 4,000 people wounded as Reuters reported. The emergency state declared in Beirut for two weeks. The military authorities provide security in the city.
According to the latest data, a Ukrainian sustained minor injuries in Beirut. Her flat was damaged by the blast.
Besides, Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud stated the death of 10 rescuers after the explosion as CNN reported.
- The explosion, despite the human casualties, inflicted billions of losses on the city. Preliminary, the sum of the harm makes $3-5 billion.
Hospitals crowded by injured
The hospitals of Beirut are unable to cope with the number of suffering from the powerful blast. CNN reported that some people lying on the floor at one of the hospitals – some people are with broken limbs, some with glass.
The streets of the city look like ashes: the buildings are destroyed within a few km radius from the epicenter. People may still be found under the rubble. Photos show horrible consequences: the windows are broken; the wreckage of the cars are scattered over the city. Mostly, the area of the city near the port is damaged.
The explosion took place during welding operations
The explosion in Beirut occurred during the welding operations as the Supreme defense council of Lebanon stated. According to this version, the explosion took place during the process of welding of the door; the spark flamed and caused the burning of explosives in the hangar. It led to the blast of 2,750 tons of ammonia that equals 1,800 tons of TNT.
Ammonia was confiscated in 2014 from Rhouses vessel heading to Africa. It was transferred and stored at the proper place; later it was transferred to the warehousing #12 for the proper storage until the decision is made about its confiscation. The room was banned from the entrance of strangers; however, the door was defective and it was possible to enter the warehouse. The decision to repair a door was made.
The owner of the vessel with ammonia was Russian, native of Khabarovsk – Igor Grechushkin. The owner stated that he went bankrupt and left the vessel in fact.
- The Red Cross of Lebanon stated that over 2,200 people were affected. According to Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan, over 25 people died and over 2,500 people injured.
- General Security Chief Abbas Ibrahim stated that the explosion took place at the warehouse with confiscated explosives. According to him, it was stored there for a lot of years.
- Secretary-General of Kataeb Party Nazar Najarian is among the deceased. He was seriously injured in the port. According to Lebanon24, the official fell into a coma and was hospitalized; however, the doctors failed to save his life.
- “Israel is not tied with the incident that occurred in Lebanon”, - official TV of Knesset reported citing the source at the state bodies.
A Ukrainian suffered in the result of the explosion
As of 2:10 p.m., a Ukrainian citizen was affected by the explosion in Beirut as 112 Ukraine TV channel reported citing Head of Department for Crisis Situations Management of Consular Service of the Foreign Ministry Maksym Kovalenko.
According to him, a woman reported that her flat was damaged by the blast. She sustained minor injuries.
“In such cases, local medical services are engaged, the Ukrainian embassy also provides the necessary assistance, recommendations, practical advice,” Kovalenko stated.
Currently, about 4,000 Ukrainian citizens stay in Lebanon. But this number might be specified as some of our fellow-countrymen left the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Embassy of Ukraine did not receive messages about severe injuries or missing people.
The Embassy of Ukraine in Lebanon asks to report any information about Ukrainians suffered in the result of the explosion.
Trump states about the attack, Pentagon refutes it
President of the U.S. Donald Trump called the explosion at Beirut port to be attack.
“I met with some of our great generals, and they just seem to feel that it was. But they seem to think it was an attack. It was a bomb of some kind, yes,” Trump stated.
Besides, the American president confirmed the readiness of the U.S. to assist Lebanon.
Soon after his statement, three sources at Pentagon stated to CNN that there is no information confirmed words of Trump about the attack. It was specified that Lebanese officials raised concerns with US diplomats about the use of the word "attack" at this point.
“It is complete chaos”. What happened?
“A powerful blast in port warehouses near central Beirut storing highly explosive material killed 78 people, injured nearly 4,000”, as Reuters reported.
One of the witnesses said:
“I saw a fireball and smoke rising above Beirut. People shouted and ran away covered in blood. The balconies were swept away. The windows at the multi-story buildings were broken and fell out to the street”.
According to another witness, firstly, the grey smoke was seen near the port area and then the explosion with fire occurred.
“All windows in the downtown are broken and wounded people walking around. It is complete chaos”.
The next video shows thick smoke in the air, damaged trees and cars covered with dust.
Beirut now pic.twitter.com/sBHH8C2l1f— Elie W. Fawaz (@ElieFawaz) August 4, 2020
All these are the consequences of the explosion.
SkyNews shared this vide: smoke, sounds of sirens, shouts.
The Lebanese city of Beirut has experienced a huge blast, thought to have been in the area of the docks, which has shattered windows and rocked buildings.— SkyNews (@SkyNews) August 4, 2020
Get the latest on this story here: https://t.co/UH3Jscyfkr pic.twitter.com/vOg2lfD3lF
This is how the office of The Daily Star newspaper looks now:
BREAKING: Massive explosion in Beirut. Footage from the daily star office now in Lebanon pic.twitter.com/2uBsKP5wCH— Ghada Alsharif (@GhadaaSharif) August 4, 2020
AFP reports that two explosions occurred; while Al Arabiya stated that there were a few explosions simultaneously.
Went outside in a minute before the explosion and survived. Stories of witnesses
Ukrainian Olha Al Helu lives in the suburbs of Beirut and felt shock wave even there – firstly she thought it is an earthquake as 112 Ukrainian TV channel reported citing her.
“I was at home with my daughter. Firstly, we felt a push like an earthquake; it was quite tangible and the explosion occurred in a minute. Thank God, our house is not affected,” Olha said.
She said that her husband was at the office two km from the explosion site and had narrowly escaped leaving the building and coming to the street. Otherwise, he would be under the rubble.
“At that moment my husband was at work, it is two km from the explosion in fact. Beirut now is completely destroyed and the place where he worked is wiped from the face of the Earth. I do not know how it happened that before the explosion he came to the street if he stayed in the salon he would be caught under rubble,” the Ukrainian said.
Comments of the officials
Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud: "It looks like Japan in Hiroshima or Nagasaki. This is what this reminds me of. I have never seen this amount of destruction”.
President of Lebanon Michel Aoun summons an urgent meeting of the government.
August 5 declared to be day of mourning for victims of the explosion.