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Lebanon: Beirut port explosion, one year on
Lebanon marks the one year anniversary of the devastating blast, as families of victims still wait in vain for justice.
A general view of the scene of the explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut [File: Bilal Hussein/AP Photo]
4 Aug 2021
On August 4, 2020, one of the world’s biggest-ever, non-nuclear explosions destroyed much of Beirut’s port and devastated swaths of the capital.
The blast was caused by a fire in a warehouse which Lebanese authorities admit held a vast stockpile of ammonium nitrate for six years.
The huge explosion left more than 200 dead, and more than 6,500 injured. Some 300,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.
The tragedy hit Lebanon as the country was mired in its worst economic crisis in decades, with its currency plummeting, massive layoffs and drastic banking restrictions.
A year later, critics have said the political leadership has succeeded in stonewalling the judicial investigation that was launched to uncover what happened in the explosion and who was responsible.
President Michel Aoun said no one will have political cover if they are found negligent or guilty but has not addressed accusations that officials are obstructing the investigation.
People evacuate the wounded after the massive explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020. [Hassan Ammar/AP Photo]
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A member of the Lebanese army walks past the rubble at the site of the blast in Beirut's port area on August 7, 2020. [Mohamed Azakir/Reuters]
A woman holds a noose as she observes a minute of silence on September 4, 2020 to mark one month since the massive explosion at Beirut's port. [Mohamed Azakir/Reuters]
A man stands next to graffiti at the damaged port area in the aftermath of a massive explosion. [Hannah McKay/Reuters]
Angelique Sabounjian was injured at her office during the Beirut port explosion. [Hassan Ammar/AP Photo]
The aftermath of the massive explosion in Beirut on August 4, 2020. [Hassan Ammar/AP Photo]
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A rescue team member works with a sensor to detect signs of life amid the rubble of damaged buildings in Gemmayze on September 4, 2020. [Aziz Taher/Reuters]
A mother whose son was killed during last year's massive blast at Beirut's seaport weeps as she raises her hand painted red to represent blood outside the home of caretaker Interior Minister Mohamed Fehmi. Family members are angry with Fehmi because he rejected a request by the judge investigating the explosion to question Abbas Ibrahim, one of Lebanon's most prominent generals and heads of the General Security Directorate. [Bilal Hussein/AP Photo]
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