There have been some varying reports as to what caused the Beirut explosion, but an official is now saying 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate caused the disaster. Mahmoud al-Asmar, Secretary-General of Lebanon's Higher Defense Council, issued a statement to the press to share the findings. The blast that was ignited by the explosive materials practically decimated the city, killing dozens of people and wounding thousands more, per CBS News.
Additional reporting from NBC News Chief Global Correspondent Bill Neely revealed that the Lebanese Prime Minister stated the ammonium nitrate had been left unsecured in the warehouse for over six years. He also vowed to punish the officials responsible for the improper storing of the substance. The news has had many commenting on the massive destruction that 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate could do. "I honestly can't even wrap my head around this: A Lebanese security official says 2,700 Tons of Ammonium Nitrate led to the #beirut explosion (per @Reuters citing local media)," tweeted MSNBC host Ayman Mohyeldin. "The Oklahoma City bombers used approximately 2 Tons and destroyed 1 building, shattered another 286."
This is Mahmoud al-Asmar, Secretary General of Lebanon's Higher Defense Council https://t.co/FVwp9Ik6lI— David A. Daoud (@DavidADaoud) August 4, 2020
There have been a number of eyewitness accounts to the explosion, with resident Hadi Nasrallah telling the BBC, "I saw the fire, but I didn't yet know there was going to be an explosion. We went inside. Suddenly I lost my hearing because apparently I was too close. I lost my hearing for a few seconds, I knew something was wrong. And then suddenly the glass just shattered all over the car, the cars around us, the shops, the stores, the buildings. Just glass going down from all over the building."
Nasrallah continued: "Literally all over Beirut, people were calling each other from different areas kilometres away and they were experiencing the same thing: broken glass, buildings shaking, a loud explosion. Actually we were shocked because usually when it happens, just one area will experience those happenings after an explosion, but this time it was all of Beirut, even areas outside of Beirut." The death toll from the explosion has continued to rise over the day, with the most recent number being around 50. CBS News reported that, along with the tragic deaths, more than 3,000 people were injured by the blast. Those numbers are expect to rise.