Lebanon’s economy was struggling before the catastrophic explosion on August 4. Severe cash shortages, a widening gap between official and parallel market exchange rates, increasing poverty rates, high unemployment, and periods of high protest activity have impacted Lebanon over the past year. Inflation is high and many assignees have to use unfavorable rates when purchasing at least a portion of their goods.
The scenarios are eerily similar: Onlookers filming an initial explosion and fire, before a more severe explosion and shockwave sends them running and knocks them off their feet. Ammonium nitrate. Dangerous storage at an industrial port.
Warning: Links in this story contain graphic images and video. On August 4th around 6pm local time, Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut was rocked by a series of explosions in the port area of the city. The shaking from the second and largest explosion was equivalent to a 3.3-magnitude earthquake, and there are reports that it was heard and felt as far away as Cyprus, 240km away.