Lebanon: At Least 28 Killed, 79 Injured In Fuel Tank Explosion

Lebanon is recognized to be a country that has went and is still going through multiple crises. The capital, Beirut, was once known as the “Paris of the Middle East”. However, the crises include a massive explosion in Beirut’s port in August 2020, an economic collapse, the Covid-19 global pandemic, and rising political instability, which has all risked the residents’ fundamental rights. Without a doubt, the political class in Lebanon failed to effectively address any of these crises, especially when some were of their own making.

The unemployment rate has risen steeply across the country. Since October 2019, the Lebanese Pound lost more than 80% of its value, causing people to have difficulty accessing essential and basic goods like food, accommodation, and healthcare.

BEIRUT, LEBANON – AUGUST 11: Lebanese demonstrators gather to march towards the parliament building following the resignation of the Lebanese government, during the fourth day of the demonstration after a fire at a warehouse with explosives at the Port of Beirut led to massive blasts on August 4 in Beirut, Lebanon on August 11, 2020. Demonstrators also chanted against President Michel Aoun as well as Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and other politicians. (Getty Images)

It only worsens when a fuel tank exploded in one of the country’s most impoverished areas in northern Lebanon early Sunday, killing at least 28 individuals and injuring 79 more. Security and military sources claimed that black marketeers had hidden a fuel storage tank that was seized by the army seized and managing out gasoline to residents when the blast happened. Due to the severe fuel shortages in Lebanon, which has been accused of hoarding, smuggling, and the governments’ failure to secure deliveries of imported fuel, there were long queues at the warehouse.

It remains unclear what led to the blast. Several people were missing after the explosion. Eyewitnesses claimed that approximately 200 people were nearby at the time of the blast, with Reuters being told by a security source that there was a “rush of people” and “arguments between some of them led to gunfire which hit the tank of gasoline and so it exploded”. However, according to the local Al-Jadeed TV channel, eyewitnesses said the cause of the blast was an individual who ignited a lighter.

The Lebanon Red Cross has sent some 24 ambulances 75 EMTs to the scene to care for the dead and the injured. It was indicated by initial reports that many of the wounded were severe cases.

Currently, Lebanon has no government. A warning has been made by Lebanon’s top hospital over the weekend which assists as a reminder of the potential for the country’s fuel crisis to cripple the nation and bring fundamental infrastructure to its knees.

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