The massive explosion that rocked Beirut on August 4, has generated worldwide shock. The international community has responded and sent search and rescue teams and aid to the already suffering people of Lebanon. 

For the average citizen of Beirut, the shock is now giving way to anger as the affected citizens ask how could the government so haphazardly store such a dangerous amount of explosive material in such a key area of the country. 

The massive explosion was caused by about 2,750 metric tons of high-grade ammonium nitrate stored in the port of Lebanon. It completely destroyed the surrounding port area. The blast pressure generated by the explosion damaged buildings some 10 miles away; it was felt over 20 miles away from the blast site. The explosion was so strong it was heard Cyprus over 125 miles away. 

Lebanese citizens are not just asking why this happened: they are lashing out over government corruption and dishonesty that has put the already suffering country in an even worse predicament. 

One Dutch team rescue that arrived to help was not allowed to operate anywhere near the blast area by plainclothes Hezbollah officials. This raised more suspicion among the people. 

In the blast, approximately 80 percent of Lebanon’s grain reserves were destroyed along with their silos. The country imports up around 80-90 percent of its food. Now its main port of entry, where 70 percent of its imports pass through, has been rendered inoperable for the foreseeable future. Over 300,000 people are now homeless in the immediate area. With the economy already in freefall, this is a disaster the government is ill-equipped to handle.

The people were angry at how their country’s leadership not only allowed this to happen but then rushed to proclaim ignorance and lack of culpability for the unmitigated disaster. Worse still, many Lebanese have little hope that the same politicians will find or release any answers in the probe they are conducting. 

That anger has carried over to the media. One of Lebanon’s leading broadcasters, Lebanon Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI) announced on Friday that they will stop the live coverage of speeches, press conferences, chats, and statements related to the probe of the explosion.