In Lebanon, the death toll from Tuesday’s massive explosion at the Port of Beirut has risen to 137, with dozens still missing and over 5,000 injured. The explosion completely leveled Lebanon’s largest grain silo, leaving the country with less than a month’s reserve of grain. Beirut’s city governor says up to 300,000 people lost their homes to the explosion, compounding a humanitarian crisis that followed economic collapse and a surge of coronavirus cases across Lebanon.
Officials say the blast was triggered by over 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at Beirut’s port. The highly explosive industrial fertilizer was reportedly seized from a Russian-leased cargo ship bound for Mozambique in 2013 but never properly secured. The Lebanese government says it has placed several port officials under house arrest. Public outrage at government officials is exploding across Lebanon with the hashtag “#HangUpTheNooses” trending on social media.