6:00 pm (11:00 am EST)
We are at a port, and it’s a normal day like any other. People are scurrying about the streets; it’s the early evening time of day where everyone is gathering up their things and preparing to go home. There is a lot of hustle and bustle, different voices clamor and clash, here is the heart of the downtown business district. This is Beirut -- the capital city of Lebanon, home to 2.2 million people.
All of a sudden, smoke starts rising out of a seemingly normal warehouse. People start to panic, chaos erupts -- the smoke continues to waft out rapidly. The roof of the warehouse alights and a small series of explosions go off, followed by a series of small blasts that sound like fireworks.
The people slowly look around, dazed. But they barely have 30 seconds before the colossal explosion hits, sending a mushroom cloud into the air and a supersonic blast radiating throughout the city, blowing out the windows at the Beirut International Airport, a whole 5 miles away!
Two days ago, this happened. The reason for the explosion is still unknown, with many theories and suspicions of highly explosive chemicals and materials being confiscated in the warehouse triggered by a small fire (2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate), but what we do know is that people in Lebanon are suffering greatly because of this.
The blast destroyed the immediate dockside area, creating a crater 140 meters wide (BBC). 137 people were killed in the blast and at least 5000 injured, hundreds have been reported missing and hospitals are overloaded (four hospitals were damaged in the blast as well). 300 000 people are temporarily homeless as a result of their houses destroyed. People estimate that the COVID cases will also increase in the aftermath of the blast because of the citywide panic.
I urge you to pray for Lebanon; to pray that the people and their leaders can recover from this horrible explosion and build back their cities, to recover from the physical destruction and political turmoil they are facing at this time.
The world may be experiencing a lot of trouble, but we should never forget to keep our hope in God and be a light for others.
*Picture taken from Google and BBC
*Statistics taken from BBC
Footage of the blast [NOTE: VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED] -https://safeyoutube.net/w/JOjQ