beirut explosion latest news
Some exercises in perspective the IRA bomb which severely damaged Canary Wharf in London in Nineteen ninety-six was estimated at just over one ton of ammonium nitrate Timothy McVeigh's bomb which demolished a federal government building in Oklahoma City in nineteen ninety-five was just over two tons of the same material. The boss which erupted in Beirut's port on Tuesday was estimated at two. Thousand seven hundred and fifty tons of ammonium nitrate. One of the biggest peacetime non nuclear explosions in history as Bhai. Route begins the barely imaginable task of cleaning up and is understandably enough growing tear gas was fired yesterday at protesters near the parliament building I'm joined. Now by Lila Milana, Allen France twenty four's correspondent in Beirut Leyla. First of all, you have been visiting the port which was the epicenter of the explosion. I can't begin to imagine where you would even describe such scene but I'm going to ask you to have a crack at doing that the scene is as you say, almost indescribable does smoke still rising from the charred MBA's off. Destroyed packing crates destroyed shelving and it says every kind of. Utility things you'd expect to see in shops. Twisted. Washing machines on the floor items from pharmacies because this of course port, this is the one thirty functional in Lebanon imposed everything and everything was stored than in the center. You have the remains of these enormous grain silos that carried the grain for the majority of the country completely destroyed and parts of them. Still collapsing there you have a aid workers desperately trying to dig people of rubble that's thirty meters deep, and the conditions are horrific temperatures of thirty degrees baking hot sun. The air is thick and brown the smell acrid burning metal and plastic. It really is post-apocalyptic and this goes on for over a mile. Entire poor is just smoking twisted metal and daybreak. Nash. have. You got a clear sense of how widespread the damage across Beirutis. How far can you go from the blast without seeing broken windows? So it. was about nine kilometers where we're still doing things like breaking windows the impact of it and having people. That's it really has spread incredibly far, and it's an uneven spread as well because. What's happened is that the grain ciders positioned in a certain way which meant that it protected half of the city of West Beirut, which historically has in many disasters. Conflicts actually born the brunt of of problems in Beirut and actually deflected the majority of the blast towards the East and the south, which is why a famous areas like Gymnasium Ohio Asha fear completely The buildings there obliterated and one of the concerns now is a lot of. Buildings the older buildings in Beirut the few buildings left in the east of in pre-civil war, which were much loved already, quite delicate on the point of collapse yesterday as people were trying to clear the streets constantly civil defense volunteers trying to pull people back away from these buildings with balconies hanging down stone starting to crumble because of course, that's a huge dangerous. People are still sifting through rubble trying to find loved ones that buildings could. New Buildings that had not yet collapsed could collapse on top of the other issue is that the new builds a lot of them are concrete and speaking to an engineer what can happen with concrete is that with a shockwave blast like this concrete cracks easily under pressure and so that can be in tunnel cracks there that you don't know about in can't be seen from the outside, but the make the building unstable and because there's really been. Very, little help from the government with people trying to go back into their homes, clear up and see what they can retrieve and whether their homes are still livable. Many people going back into very unstable buildings and some living there because they have no other former shelter. So a real risk of further injury as buildings might potentially collapse over the next few days very similar to the aftermath of an earthquake, which is what this is compared to. A among the people who was serving the damage in Beirut yesterday was of course, President Emmanuel Macron of France undertaking a extraordinary spontaneous visit. How is that being received? I mean, it's it's understandable enough that Lebanese politicians don't want to interact at a personal level with the public at the not only for their own safety but is it being regarded as strange that the first high profile politician to to take a walkabout should be the president of an entirely different country? Well, it is strange, but it's not being regarded as strange. I was down on the street yesterday when McCone was was walking through glad-handing the crowd I mean, he really was you know playing up to it and was supposed to be going to Baabda Palace, the Presidential Palace to meet with politicians and delayed that for an extra hour on the schedule to stay with Lebanese people in the streets of course, playing up very much. The fact that he was there to see them he'd said before the visit my main priorities to go and be with the people of Lebanon. And extend, solidarity's to them, and then after that I will be dealing with the political varieties speaking to them. So in the streets, he was absolutely mobbed by people he's hugging people shaking hands with them people coming up tim saying, please don't give those politicians any money that corrupt criminals we don't trust them and he responded to one woman I know you don't trust them graffiti everywhere saying don't give one. Euro. To those Michael help us. So he really did make himself as I say a man of the people yesterday I spoke to a couple of young women afterwards. WHO said to me? That man was more of a leader to us in fifteen minutes than any of our politicians have been where all day no one has come to see us where are they wears the help and later in the day after a lot of commentary that. The. Obviously. Lebanese politicians feeding quite shamefaced one. The justice minister did come down to the streets to try and speak to people clearing up and she had water thrown in her face and chanting protest. Immediately, they're not welcome and that people absolutely fading that the government has no interest in safety in their health in their wellbeing and their ability to rebuild hiding away from them as everybody marshals together to try and get things. Back to nothing like normal but something livable at least just to follow that up finally, regular listeners may recall that you and I were speaking on Monday talking about the resignation of Lebanon's foreign minister and that seemed like a pretty big story at the time He's probably ruin his timing at this point but have you seen or heard anything in terms of actual messaging attempts to help or anything from the alleged government of Lebanon or d you kind of assume that they've all got to the point where they just realized the games up nobody really wants to hear from them anymore. It's quite extraordinary. There is honesty nothing happening in terms of that what the government is doing a lot of finger pointing at each other and previous administrations about who's to blame for this they've put everybody associated with the report under house arrest and saying that they're going to find the perpetrators. But of course, everybody's saying somebody else's the perpetrator on what we know so far it seems that for six years has been ongoing negligence at the highest. Level where a several reports were were built up by the head of the port and have customs sent to the government center the Prime Minister's Office the judiciary about the fact that this was a ticking time bomb and something has to be done completely ignored. So the government is going on about this investigation saying they'll find responsible meanwhile three hundred, thousand people in Beirut homeless, five, thousand injured hundreds still missing, and honestly all you can see on the streets is volunteers. The. Lebanese. breath volunteers, obviously with their ambulances civil defence wanting tears, young people armed with spades and rooms marching down the street just going into people's homes into buildings and sweeping up what they can and moving onto the next one cleaning up themselves. They all said to me of course not here we wouldn't expect anything else from them with the only people who can help ourselves and today international aid. Groups coming in different countries, sending their own firefighters medical support in, and still a complete absence of the Lebanese government anywhere except the poor area learn Milana Allen in Beirut thank you very much for joining us.