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  • Fighters work to extinguish  the flames in the port area of Beirut, Lebanon. August 4, 2020.

    Fighters work to extinguish the flames in the port area of Beirut, Lebanon. August 4, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 5 August 2020
Opinion

Port General Manager Hassan Koraytem said that his office was not completely aware of the material hazard when they first stored it in 2014.

Lebanon's government Wednesday issued a house arrest order for port officials after Beirut's massive blast on Tuesday.

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In an emergency cabinet meeting, President Michel Aoun stated 2,750 tonnes of precariously stored ammonium nitrate caused the blast. At least 135 people died due to the explosion, and over 4,000 were injured.

"I think it is incompetence and bad management and there are a lot of responsibilities from management and probably previous governments. We do not intend after such an explosion to stay silent on who is responsible for what," Lebanese Economy Minister Raoul Nehme stated.

On Wednesday, volunteers joined the army and rescue forces for debris removal. About 300,000 people have been left homeless after the explosion, and authorities fear a food crisis because of economic severity and grain warehouse destruction. 

According to preliminary inquiries, the ammonium nitrate was part of the Rhosus cargo. This Moldovan ship arrived at Beirut's port in 2013 due to technical issues during its Georgia-Mozambique route.

Port General Manager Hassan Koraytem said his office was not completely aware of the material hazard when they first storage it in 2014.

The ammonium nitrate is commonly used in explosives as well as an agricultural fertilizer. The Beirut blast is considered one of the most significant non-nuclear explosions in history. 

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