A massive explosion at the port of Beirut on Tuesday rippled through the city, causing extensive damage, including to Armenian community sturctures. According to Lebanon’s Health Minister Hamad Hasan at least 50 people are dead and some 2,700 have been reported to be injured.
Authorities are blaming highly explosive materials stored in a warehouse for six years. Earlier on Tuesday Lebanon’s Interior Minister, Mohammad Fahmi, told a local Lebanese television that highly explosive ammonium nitrate, which has both industrial and military uses, was stored in the port. Reportedly, the substance was seized six years ago from a ship and was stored in the port.
Major General Abbas Ibrahim, Lebanon’s Director General of Public Security also confirmed the explosion of the confiscated chemicals.
In a Twitter post, President Michel Aoun said it was “unacceptable” that 2,750 (metric) tons of ammonium nitrate was stored unsafely. An investigation is on the way.
The large Armenian community in Lebanon was also impacted by the blast, with several members of the community among the injured.
According to our sources in Beirut, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Shaghzoyan center in Bourdj Hammoud, which houses the editorial offices of Aztag Daily Newspaper and the Vana Tsayn Radio station has been damaged from the impact. No injuries and casualties have been reported.
His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia toured the Bourdj Hammoud neighborhood shortly after the explosions.
This latest incident comes as Lebanon is experiencing one of the worst economic crisis in its history that was compounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Asbarez will provide updates on this developing story as they become available.