Last week, Lebanon, a country in the Middle East, suffered a port explosion in their capital of Beirut. According to an article by BBC, at least 70 people have been killed and over 4,000 others injured. Officials are naming the cause as stored, highly explosive materials in a warehouse, specifically, “by the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely at the port for years,” although an investigation is underway to confirm or disprove this.
Previous to the explosion, Lebanon was in economic crisis– their worst one since the 1975-1990 civil war. A plan was proposed in 2019 to tax calls via WhatsApp to gain more revenue, but this led to mass protests and turmoil. At this time, Prime Minister Hassan Diab had only been in power two months having been elected following an uprising.
Many have been frustrated about the country’s corrupt government and see the explosion as a government failure. The Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, tweeted that the amount of ammonium nitrate stored was “unacceptable.” Protesters have been out on the streets following the explosion, which was the final straw for many of Beirut’s people.
The Lebanese government has resigned in the wake of the blast to “stand with the people.” The next elected prime minister will be Lebanon’s third this year. Despite this, many Lebanese citizens question if it will actually bring about change. Parliament’s decision to choose a new prime minister is not expected to be a timely or pleasant one because of the government’s complicated political system.
300,000 citizens have been made homeless with nearly 80,000 children misplaced. Lebanon also hosts the largest number of refugees per capita– approximately 1.5 million Syrian refugees. The country’s health system is weak, made worse by COVID-19 and now with overwhelmed hospitals from the blast.
Lebanon’s prime minister has asked for international help. If you’re able to, please donate to any of these resources: https://helplebanon.carrd.co/