On Tuesday, a massive explosion rocked Lebanon's capital city of Beirut, destroying buildings and leaving more than 100 dead. Now, new satellite images are showing the devastation of the blast, which left a massive crater in the city's port, located near highly-populated areas and tourist sites.
We have the first satellite picture captured this morning over Beirut (right) 2020-08-05 by @planetlabs vs 2020-07-26 (left). Red circled area is where the explosion took place. pic.twitter.com/Bsa4E8f95u— Sam (@Samir_Madani) August 5, 2020
The explosion occurred at approximately 6:07 p.m. local time, flipping cars, shattering windows, and causing nearby buildings to crumble. Believed to be caused by nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate that was being stored in a warehouse, the explosion registered as a 3.3 magnitude earthquake and was felt as far as 150 miles away in the city of Cyprus, according to CNN. Residents living more than six miles away reported that windows of their homes shattered. The Daily Mail reports that the chemical compound, which is typically used in agricultural fertilizers, exploded with a fifth of the power of the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima during World War II.
"It resembles to what happened in Japan, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That's what [it] reminds me of. In my life, I haven't seen destruction on this scale," Beirut's governor, Marwan Abboud, said shortly after the explosion while observing the devastation from the ground. "This is a national catastrophe."
LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT CRATER pic.twitter.com/ylYatwsblW— Sam (@Samir_Madani) August 5, 2020
According to Abboud, at least 300,000 people have been displaced by the blast. Speaking with Jordan's state-owned channel Al Mamlaka, and as reported by CNN, Abboud said that "half of Beirut's population have homes that are unliveable for the foreseeable future — for the next two weeks." Meanwhile, it has been estimated that 90% of the hotels in the capital have suffered damage. Abboud estimated that there was at least $5 billion in damage, though the full extent of the damage remains unknown.
At this time, at least 100 people have been confirmed dead, with another 4,000 injured, overwhelming hospitals that were already in crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic, four of which were damaged in the blast. Health Minister Hamad Hassan told reporters that his ministry is working on an emergency plan to set up field hospitals being sent from Qatar, Iran, Kuwait, Oman and Jordan. Hundreds of people also remain missing, with the death toll expected to rise.