A massive explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut rocked the city. The state run news agency NNA said it was believed to be munitions or fireworks on unknown boats normally involved in weddings. According to LBCI Lebanon news, ambulances began transporting “hundreds of people” with calls going out for blood donations. The incident happened around 6 pm local time. Two explosions happened at the port, one inside the city near former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s residence.
The second explosion shook the city
A fireworks depot is understandably going to be powerful with all those explosives. It initially looked like a nuclear blast, then the red and brown mushroom cloud unfurled. Homes up to six miles away were affected.
A number of videos captured the shock wave that blew out glass and flipped cars. Even at a distance the explosion shock wave could be observed to affect the clouds as it moved out.
A single explosion turned the area into a war zone
The Health Minister Hamad Hassan ordered hospitals to prepare to receive those wounded from the blast. It blew out the windows of the CNN offices. “Never felt anything like it,” said a CNN Beirut reporter.
CNN’s Ben Wederman said he had “never felt anything like it … [I’ve] been around the block and seen pretty large explosions … and this was bigger. As far as I can tell there was just one absolutely massive explosion which caused all this damage in the Lebanese capital.”
The explosion rocked the community
One Beirut resident that was several miles away had shattered windows. “What I felt was that it was an earthquake,” Rania Masri mentioned to CNN. “The apartment shook horizontally, and all of a sudden it felt like an explosion and the windows and doors burst open. The glass just broke. So many homes were damaged or destroyed.”
The Middle East is known for instability. Many areas are war torn, death is a common occurrence. It’s no surprise then that one resident was grateful to still be on the earth. “I can’t believe I’m still alive,” said Nada Hamza.
An Al Jazeera reporter remarked, “I was kilometres away; the glass broke everywhere around me. The explosion was felt across the city. There is chaos in the streets.”