Earlier this month, another calamity struck Beirut.
The Lebanese capital is facing an economic meltdown, lingering political violence, and the global threat of COVID-19. Some of Lebanon’s worst wildfires in decades occurred last October. And on August 4, a fire at the port city’s dockyard ignited a warehouse filled with nearly three thousand tonnes of confiscated ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical. Local officials say it had been left to sit for six years without proper safety procedures.
To the uneducated eye, the resulting explosion looked more akin to a ballistic missile striking its target. “It was as if the sky folded onto itself in a deafening crackling that shook the ground like an earthquake,” an eyewitness wrote for Al Jazeera. The blast ripped the balconies from apartments, topped buildings onto pedestrians, and scattered debris across much
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