Beirut Explosion Explained: Where And How It Happened

The size of the explosion that ripped through the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut has shocked the world. Some 300,000 people have been left homeless, at least 130 were killed and thousands have been injured. But what do we know about where and how it happened?

Just after 6 p.m local time on Tuesday the 4th of August, an explosion ripped through Beirut's port. People in Lebanon's capital had earlier spotted a large fire at the port billowing dark smoke into the air. There were reports that a warehouse containing fireworks had caught fire. And several videos of the scene showed coloured flashes in the flames.

Videos from the scene suggest there was one smaller explosion. And then roughly 30 seconds later this enormous shock. The blast struck with the force of a 3.5 magnitude earthquake. This was the aftermath. Windows shattered in buildings across the city and damaged cars on the roads near the port.

This is the exact location of where the explosion happened, Port of Beirut.

Four kilometers away in the Saint Maron church a priest and his congregation were taking part in mass. The explosion was caught on camera 11 kilometers away in the Dbayeh Marina. The blast was so big that it was heard from the mountains.

This video from the town of Bchamoun 15 kilometers away shows how far the shockwave reached. It was even heard and felt as far away as cyprus more than 125 miles across the Mediterranean.

Aerial shots show the scale of the destruction of the port; it reportedly housed 85 percent of Lebanon's supply of grain which was a strategic food reserve in a country crippled by economic meltdown.

You can see the impact on the Beirut Port silos building before and after the explosion. Surrounding the silos were corrugated iron and steel structures that have mostly been destroyed. These satellite images reveal the extent of the damage. This crater was once a warehouse, now it's underwater.

The colossal force was caused by the explosion of 2 tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly reactive chemical which was being stored unsafely in a hangar on the port. Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab has promised that those responsible for the catastrophe will pay the price.

Source: Sky News

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