The horrific explosion in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, left at least 300,000 people homeless, 50% of the city area damaged, more than 100 dead and 4,000 injured, according to AP.
The governor of Beirut announced that the initial damage after the explosion was estimated at US $ 3-5 billion.
Blood donation cars are spreading throughout Beirut, calling on people to donate blood to help seriously injured people. Hospitals were still able to operate after the explosion was becoming overburdened.
Jad Chaaban – an economist at the University of Beirut – said that the current situation in the capital was beyond the national disaster.
One of the most concerned issues in Lebanon today is the specific cause of the explosion.
Anthony May – an expert on explosives and American weapons – said that the videos and images of the explosion in Beirut provide important clues about the cause of the incident. Anthony May said a weapon attack had triggered more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate.
“I have done many fire investigations, both domestically and internationally. It is clear that a large amount of military explosives were used, resulting in a fire and a disaster in Beirut”, commented Anthony May.
“You see, the smoke after the explosion rises is not yellow smoke – characteristic of ammonium nitrate when burning – but orange-red smoke. It is very unusual”, Tony added.
However, ammonium nitrate remains the main source of the explosion, according to Anthony May.
Robert Baer, a former CIA officer with extensive experience in the Middle East, said that the cause of the explosion was not just the ammonium nitrate.
“This is clearly a military explosion. The cause of the explosion is not simply due to ammonium nitrate. Do you see the red smoke? As I said, it’s due to military explosives”, said Robert Baer.
Robert Baer said that bombs or ammunition may have been involved in detonating the ammonia nitrate store.
“I have been working in Lebanon for many years. Now it seems no one dares to acknowledge the presence of military explosives in the port of Beirut, ”said Robert Baer.
The Lebanese Prime Minister said 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate had been stored for 6 years in Beirut port without any safety measures.
Earlier, US President Donald Trump said that the explosion in Beirut could be a bomb attack. However, the Pentagon was cautious and said that it could not quickly draw any conclusions about the incident.
Experts say that ammonium nitrate itself cannot explode on its own, but needs an active source of ignition.
Boaz Hayoun, a fire and explosion expert at Tamar Group in Israel, said that fireworks could be the cause of the ammonium nitrate warehouse fire.
“The videos show that initially there was light rising in the smoke. Before the big explosion, we also heard some sounds like fireworks shooting into the sky, ”Mr. Hayoun said.
Jeffrey Lewis – a rocket research expert in California, USA – said that there was no attack, the explosion in Lebanon was by accident.
“This is not an attack. It seems that an accident occurred that led to fire and detonated chemical warehouse. Orange-red clouds appeared after the explosion, I think it was toxic nitrogen dioxide released by ammonium nitrate, not explosives or military weapons, ”Mr. Lewis commented.
In the context of many countries from Europe and the Middle East expressing interest and sharing with Lebanon after the tragedy, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that he would fly to Beirut with two planes carrying rescue workers.