Beirut explosion: Unanswered questions one year after the dust settled
- The explosion killed more than 200 people
- The exact cause of the incident is yet to be determined
- Some investigations suggest the explosion could have been intentional
It has been more than one year since the deadly explosion wreaked havoc in Lebanon's national capital and resulted in the death of more than 200 people. However, some crucial questions about the incident have still not been answered.
Several skeptical remarks from human rights groups, journalists and activists have hinted that ammonium nitrate was stored along with fireworks in a warehouse with poor maintenance, according to reports from CNN. However, what ignited the ammonium nitrate is still unclear.
Lebanese customs officials were alerted at least half a dozen times since 2014 about the chemical being unloaded at the country's port and the dangers connected to it.
Just months before the blast, an official wrote a letter to authorities in May 2020 warning about a tragedy. The letter said, "This substance, if ignited, will lead to a large explosion, and its outcome will almost obliterate the port of Beirut. If the substance were exposed to any kind of theft, the thief would be able to use this substance to build explosives", according to reports from CNN.
Could the explosion be intentional?
According to the judicial investigations carried out by the authorities, the explosion could be intentional. This theory gained momentum in the past year after an FBI report, cited by Reuters, about 2,755 tons of ammonium nitrate that was brought to the city of Beirut, only 20% of material actually detonated.
Investigations also suggested that a huge chunk of the chemical also went missing, according to reports from CNN. However, enough clarity was not given on any potential embezzlement.
Is Beirut recovering from the disaster?
Even before the explosion last year, Lebanon was struggling with economic and infrastructural issues such as prolonged power cuts, devaluation of the currency and fuel shortages. However, with the repair work still being largely incomplete, the focus of the authorities has been split in multiple directions, according to reports from CNN.