Since early August, all the eyes have been on Beirut, Lebanon. At around 6:00 pm local time a massive explosion at the city’s port area rocked the capital. According to CNN, 2.750 metric tons of the explosive ammonium nitrate which were stored in warehouses at the port might have been the reason behind the big explosion.
Beirut is declared at a two-week state of emergency by the Lebanese government as the military officials are trying to control the situation and estimate the casualties. So far, the number of deaths is estimated at around 135 while the injured around 5.000.
Immediately during and after the incident, images and videos started to circulate online, depicting the tragic moment of the explosion, as a massive mushroom shockwave hit the city.
One of the shocking videos was filmed in a Catholic church in Beirut during the religious service. Due to the strict COVID-19 security measures, the mass was recorded and transmitted live, thus the church was nearly empty. However, we can see what transpired during the service at the moment of the explosion, with the Catholic priest, a few parishioners, and the television crew present.
In the video, we can see the last seconds before the blast hit the church, as the walls and the ground started shaking. Probably the people present thought that it was an earthquake, as we can notice the priest continuing with the mass uninterrupted.
However, just a few seconds later the light behind the cross on the wall goes off, and the stained-glass windows shutter inwards as the true impact of the explosion touches the walls of the church.
We can see the priest running for his life, as the ceiling starts falling. The priest is seen collapsing out of the shot as the camera recording the scene hits the ground. According to CNN the parishioners present were treated for injuries from the fallen chunks of the ceiling.
The whole country is in a state of emergency as more than 300.000 people were left homeless as their houses were damaged. Many people are still missing and the officials are scared that many of them are buried under the debris.
The Lebanese prime Hassan Diab reaffirmed that “I will not relax until we find the responsible party for what happened, hold it accountable and apply the most serious punishments against it because it isn’t acceptable that a shipment of ammonium nitrate – estimated to be 2,750 tons – was in a depot for the past 6 years without precautionary measures being taken.”
The whole world is watching the drama evolving in Lebanon. Many foreign governments have sent their condolences to the Lebanese people and have offered humanitarian help. Pope Francis has asked the people to pray for the Lebanese tragedy.
Every moment, more and more devastating human stories emerge from the “disaster city” as the authorities now call Beirut. Let our prayers reach the victims and their families and let’s hope that these kinds of unnecessary disasters can be avoided in the future!
If you want to see the moment the blast hit the Catholic church, check out the video below.
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