Devastation and uncertainty lead Lebanon to self-destruct
On August 4th at 6:08 PM an explosion occurred in Beirut leaving the population in panic and distress. Videos of the occurrence were all over the news shortly after. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Tik Tok, and Facebook depict a firsthand point of view from the victims of this tragic event.
Lebanon has been in a chaotic state the past year. Their currency is depreciating, there are food shortages, and a revolutionary rise has created tumultuous economic disparities amongst their citizens. Subsequently, the Coronavirus pandemic worsened their state, and just when they thought it could not get any worst, an explosion occurred.
How Did This Happen?
The explosion occurred at the Port of Beirut, where around 60% of their importations of gold, pharmaceuticals, diamonds, cattle, metal, electric equipment, and mineral fuels enter. According to the Lebanese interior minister Mohamed Fehmi, he blames ammonium nitrate. 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate is enough danger to explode. Ammonium nitrate is a chemical in agricultural fertilizers for manufacturing purposes to enhance plant growth.
The Cause of the Explosion
Although the cause of the explosion is obvious, many wonder whether this was an accident or planned attack. Most say it was an accident. Prime Minister Hassan Diab still backs up the claim that the ammonium nitrate in large amounts at the port is to blame in Beirut. Lebanese General Security Abbas Ibrahim also claims that the explosion cause is explosive material that was confiscated by a ship a while back. Those materials had been stored at the port as well.
United States officials and President Donald Trump believe otherwise. “I’ve bet with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that this was not some kind of manufacturing explosion type of an event,” Trump said. “They seem to think it was an attack. It was a bomb of some kind.” U.S. Military officials, too, believe it may have been a bomb. Further investigations will barrow in on a more accurate claim. Only time will tell.
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The Damage Done
Due to the explosion, 30,000 citizens are in displacement, thousands of injuries, and hundreds dying. Some individuals remain missing and their whereabouts after the explosion is unknown. There still aren’t exact numbers regarding how many victims of death or injury there are due to the capacity of hospitals in the capital. Most of the wounded are now being transported to other hospitals across the country and are even crossing over to Israel.
The incident also demolished 85% of grain silos. This, in turn, slows down the production of grains that Lebanon exports. When the exportations of Lebanon decrease, their economy suffers. On top of all the economic stress, $10-15 billion dollars of property damage that will take years to restore. Beirut is under rubble with all its buildings that helped the business thrive shattered. Thousands of lives injured physically and economically with all jobs in the area lost.
Civil Unrest After the Event
Lebanese citizens are upset over the incident and how the government’s tyranny continues to destroy lives. Thousands of revolution supporters came out. Protests and riots are erupting in the capital. The country itself has a habit of claiming they don’t know where the money is. That calls for an uproar towards the nation since citizens keep receiving empty promises yet no results have come up.
To clarify, many accusations are in the spotlight in regards to the corruption of the Lebanese government. Neemat Frem, businessman and independent member of the Parliament made a statement regarding the Lebanese government. Lebanon has a debt amount adding up to $100 billion dollars. Arab Reform Initiative executive director Nadim Houry said, “There’s grand theft Lebanon and there’s petty theft Lebanon. Petty theft Lebanon exists but that’s not what got the country in the hole we’re in.”
After the disaster left behind, Lebanese government officials resign their positions. Prime Minister Hassan Diab made the public announcement on August 10th through national television. Parliament is the entity deciding whom the new prime minister will be. President Michael Aoun claims the cabinet will be on a “watch” until the cabinet is formed. They will not execute any major duties. A new government system will emerge from the tyrannical system that oppresses citizens. However, it equally may end unwell. There are myriad issues that remain unsolved in which citizens will continue to protest.
President Emmanuel Macron of France went on to participate in a teleconference with Lebanon. The teleconference confirms that they will aid Lebanese citizens. Lebanese citizens beg the French President to assure that the funds are in use as monetary corruption is a fear of the crowd.
The German Foreign Ministry acknowledges Lebanese citizen concerns. “That’s precisely what the Lebanese people ask for. Individual interests and old lines of conflict must be overcome and the welfare of the entire population must be put first.”
Due to the concerns, international aid members promise that the monetary funds will go towards aid and relief organizations. The U.S., France, Britain, Canada, and Australia, promise all aid is on its way directly to organizations and local aid groups. Lebanese Red Cross and United Nations agencies are amongst the sector of organizations. The aid will not go to the government.
Ways to Help
You can donate to the following organizations to aid those affected by the Beirut tragedy. Programs from the Lebanese Red Cross, United Nations’ World Food Program, are Impact Lebanon are trustworthy. These organizations will make direct donations to those who have been affected by this tragic event. All proceeds will benefit those who have been harmed by the explosion.