Beirut blast was one-fifth of Hiroshima nuclear explosion that killed 80,000 people and injured 35,000
The massive explosion in the city of Beirut was a fifth of the power of the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima, reports state. Barely a building remained unscathed in the explosion which occurred early Wednesday, August 5, in the capital of Lebanon, reportedly caused by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at a port.
The force of the explosion shredded buildings, roofs and windows, bringing everything down to rubbles. The blast is believed to have been sparked when a welder caused a fire at the port, which spread to a warehouse storing dangerous chemicals for nearly six years. The ammonium nitrate stored in the warehouse had reportedly been kept there after being seized from a ship from Russia.
Reports state that the economic cost of the damage caused by the explosion could be around $5 billion in a country that is already in the midst of a financial crisis. The blast also left 300,000 people homeless, over 100 dead, and dozens missing. The city's hospitals are also under strain as thousands of wounded were rushed to medical facilities for treatment. Compared to this, the bombing of Hiroshima during World War 2 killed as many as 80,000 people and injured 35,000.
As news of the devastating explosion emerged, the country's Prime Minister Hassan Diab released a statement, vowing to hold those responsible for the blast accountable. The country leader said that the perpetrators will "pay the price" as he declared a two-week state of emergency in an effort to deal with the crisis. Diab also urged "friends of Lebanon" and other world leaders to donate aid to the country, saying: "We are witnessing a real catastrophe."
Shortly after his statement, the US, UK, France, Germany, and other Gulf countries responded, offering monetary and other assistance to the country. Lebanon's President Michel Aoun declared three days of mourning and announced he would release $66 million of emergency funds. Germany's embassy was also reportedly damaged in the blast, however, diplomats have reactivated an old building and have resumed work.
President Donald Trump offered US aid to Lebanon but later called the blast a "terrible attack" and claimed that it appeared to have been caused by a "bomb of some kind." He, however, did not offer any evidence in support of his comment.
French President Emmanuel Macron's office said that the country has sent two planes with dozens of emergency workers, a mobile medical unit, and 15 tons of aid to help the devastated country. His office said that the aid sent should help assist the treatment of at least 500 victims. Meanwhile, Jordan has said a military field hospital including all necessary personnel is set to be dispatched. Egypt has also opened a field hospital in the Lebanon capital to treat the wounded.
Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek, in a statement, said that Lebanon has accepted an offer of a team of 37 rescuers with sniffer dogs to Beirut, while Denmark said that it is ready to provide humanitarian assistance to Lebanon. Russian emergency officials have stated that the country is set to send at least five planeloads of aid to Beirut after the explosion ripped the city known as Paris of the Middle East.