Beirut’s 2,750 tonne ammonium nitrate explosion displaces 300,000 people


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Muskoka Post Staff


The explosion on Tuesday sent shockwaves across the city, causing widespread damage as far as the outskirts of Lebanon’s capital.


Officials said they expect the death toll to rise further as emergency workers dig through the rubble to search for survivors.

Beirut's city governor Marwan Abboud said up to 300,000 people have lost their homes and authorities are working on providing them with food, water and shelter.


The cause of the explosion was not immediately clear. Officials linked the blast to some 2,750 tonnes of confiscated ammonium nitrate that were being stored in a warehouse at the port for six years.


Beirut port's general manager said the facility had warehoused highly-explosive material, blamed for the powerful blast that rocked Beirut, six years ago based on a court order, local broadcaster OTV reported.


The broadcaster quoted Hassan Koraytem as telling it that the customs department and state security had asked authorities for the material to be exported or removed, but that "nothing happened".


Seismologists measured the event, which blew out windows at the city's international airport nine kilometres (more than five miles) away, as the equivalent of a magnitude 3.3 earthquake.

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