Written by Amrita Prakash, a grade 7 student.
A massive explosion occurred in Beruit, the capital of Lebanon on Tuesday.
It is said to have killed about 100 people, with 4,000 injured. So great was the impact that the vibrations of the blast were felt in Cyprus, which is about 240 km away from Beruit.
What seem to have caused such a big explosion?
The Lebanon government says that it happened because there was over 2700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate kept in a warehouse (like a storage house). for the last six years, which caught fire. Some reports say that there was a fire (maybe by firecrackers) that then caused the blast.
What is being questioned is why safety rules were not followed and how there could be firecrackers near a warehouse that stored something as explosive as ammonium nitrate.
It was first thought to be a nuclear explosion, but that was ruled out later. Lebanon Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that investigations are on and that he would punish those who caused it. There are still some theories of this being an attack and not an accident – but nothing has been confirmed yet.
The country is in a mess and the hospitals are trying to treat the injured – this is turning out hard to do because even hospitals and medical facilities have themselves been hit by the blast.
Lebanon is in bad shape already.
Lebanon has been going through an economic crisis already – many businesses have closed and prices are rising. There has been a lot of civil unrest in the country (which means that the population is protesting against the government). It has gone through many years of civil war before (from the seventies to the nineties) which had led to conflict and killings.
What is ammonium nitrate?
Ammonium nitrate is a water-soluble, white, crystalline chemical. It is used to produce commercial explosives that are used in mining and construction.
Where is Lebanon?
Lebanese is a country in Western Asia. On the north-east it borders Syria, Israel on the south and Cyprus on the west across the Mediterranean Sea.