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2020 Beirut explosion facts for kids

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2020 Beirut explosion
The aftermath of the explosion.
The aftermath of the explosion.
Date 4 August 2020 (2020-08-04)
Location Beirut, Lebanon
Coordinates 33°54′10.62″N 35°31′4.04″E / 33.9029500°N 35.5177889°E / 33.9029500; 35.5177889
Injuries 6,500+
Missing 9+
Property damage $10-15 billion
Beirutnorth.jpg
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The explosion happened behind the grain elevator in this picture.
Damages after 2020 Beirut explosions 1
The site of the explosion. The tall structure on the left is the grain elevator in the other picture.

On 4 August 2020, an explosion happened in the city of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon.

The blast happened at the Port of Beirut and left at least 204 people dead (with the total expected to go higher), at least 6,500 injured, and many more missing. The Governor of Beirut, Marwan Abboud, said over 300,000 people lost their homes.

It is said that the explosion may have been caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate is a chemical substance that can be used for fertilizer. It can also be used to make explosives. The government took the ammonium nitrate from a ship in the port of Damascus, the MV Rhosus. The MV Rhosus had been abandoned in the port, after the Lebanese government said it was no longer fit to travel by sea. The ammonium nitrate was then stored in the port, for at least six years. This may have been without the proper precautions. There are various regulations how ammonium nitrate should be stored, and handled. In its pure form, ammonium nitrate does not burn; but it increases fires a great deal. It should therefore not be stored near flammable substances, and it should not be heated in a closed space. It is also very sensitive to temperature.

Before the big explosion, here seems to have been a fire in a part of the warehouse, where fireworks were stored. The ammonium nitrate was stored in the same building.

The explosion has been compared to three thousand tonnes of TNT.

Some countries offered medical aid, rescue teams and money to help deal with the aftermath of the disaster.

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