A massive explosion rocked Lebanese capital Beirut on Tuesday evening. The city governor said half of the city's buildings were damaged, and hospitals were overcrowded due to a large number of those injured.
The death toll from a powerful explosion in the port of Beirut has increased to 78 people, more than 4,000 people were injured, the Al Jazeera television channel reported citing the Lebanese Health Ministry.
The head of the country's general security service, Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, said that in line with preliminary data, explosives that had been stored in the port for a long time detonated. Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the blast had been caused by improper storage of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in the port of Beirut. The Lebanese government has declared three-day mourning for the victims of the tragedy.
According to news agency ANI, the Lebanese National Security Service launched an investigation five months ago in connection with the discovery of a large amount of ammonium nitrate in the port of Beirut, Lebanese television channel OTV reported, citing its own security sources.
Lebanese television channel OTV reports also states that the investigation established that the substances in the hangar were extremely dangerous. In this regard, an order was sent to appoint a responsible person from the state and the port authority to take measures to prevent any emergencies, including an explosion.
So, what exactly is ammonium nitrate?
Ammonium nitrate is a chemical which is commonly used in agricultural fertilizers. It's chemical formula is NH4-NO3 and it is a highly explosive compound which is added to improve nitrogen content in fertilizers.
How can ammonium nitrate cause an explosion?
Ammonium nitrate, when contacts open flame or any ignition source, explodes violently. The explosion is caused by the rapid decomposition of solid ammonium nitrate into two gases, nitrous oxide and water vapour.
If it comes into contact with an open flame or other ignition source, it explodes violently. The explosive force occurs when solid ammonium nitrate decomposes very rapidly into two gases, nitrous oxide and water vapor.
The recent example is of the Lebanon explosion in the capital city of Beirut.
The use of ammonium nitrate was subjected to strict regulation in most places due to the danger it carries and potential use by terrorists.