A day after the explosion in Beirut, Lebanese nationals are still out of shock. At present, the explosion occurred on the evening of the 4th local time, has killed at least 135 people, more than 5,000 injured, about 100 people are missing. The number of casualties is likely to rise further.
The number of victims of the explosion was the biggest blow to the Lebanese capital. Not only find the exact cause of the explosion, but also how to rebuild everything destroyed? Where will the 300,000 homeless people go? The most important logistics hub ruined, how to make up for it? Lebanon will face a series of problems brought about by this disaster.
Where did 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate come from?
Ship information website Shiparrested.com shows that in 2013, a cargo ship carrying 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate. Flying the Moldovan flag, departed from Georgia Batumi Port to Mozambique. And docked at Beirut Port due to technical problems when it reached the waters near Lebanon. After that, due to various reasons, the ship and cargo were auctioned off, and the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate on board were unloaded to the port warehouse in the 12th district of Beirut Seaport until the explosion.
The head of the Beirut port, speaking a day after the explosion. Said that although there were some “dangerous materials” near the warehouse where ammonium nitrate was stored, however, it had not reached the level of “explosives”. He also said that Lebanon’s customs and state security services had previously sent a letter to dispose of the explosive material (ammonium nitrate), and that they had been “waiting for the solution for six years, but without any results”.
Welding sparks suspected of causing the explosion
The direct cause of the explosion in Lebanon was that when the staff inspected the warehouse, they found that they need to tight the warehouse door. During the process of welding the warehouse door with explosives, welding sparks ignited the explosives in the warehouse. And resulting in the ammonium nitrate stored in the warehouse exploded.
Ammonium nitrate Characteristics
Ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) is a colorless, odorless transparent or white crystal. Easy to dissolve in water, easy to absorb wet lumps, low price, simple manufacturing. It used to a wide range of purposes. It used as an industrial catalyst and strong oxidants, but also as an organic nitrogen fertilizer for agricultural products. And the manufacture of pesticides, refrigerants, laughing gas, fireworks, etc., but also inseparable from it. In addition, many civil blasting equipment will also use this chemical raw material.
In general, its detonation is insensitive, extremely insensitive to the blast ingestion, completely insensitive to mechanical action. But has a deadly dangerous characteristic – inability to withstand high temperatures, almost see an open flame will react.
When storing ammonium nitrate in large quantities. If the ventilation is not smooth, then the lower layer of the storage material can not be exported heat in a timely manner, there may be spontaneous combustion. In addition, in the case of increased acidity or the presence of impurities such as chloride, ammonium nitrate decomposition temperature will also be reduced, the decomposition process is catalyzed, more explosive.
In addition, the paper shows that ammonium nitrate decomposition products are gaseous products. 1 kg of ammonium nitrate explosive explosion can produce 900 liters of gas. Released the gas in a short period of time, creating great pressure and airwaves. The mushroom cloud formed by the explosion in Lebanon is due to the shock waves and waves generated by the explosion, and the general civilian buildings are completely unaffordable.
Beirut Port Management
The port of Beirut, the largest seaport on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. And the largest of Lebanon’s 12 ports, is the most important port for the import and export of Lebanese goods and trans-shipment. Throughputs accounting for more than 80 percent of Lebanese imports and exports. According to statistics from the official website of the Port of Beirut in Lebanon, the number of containers handled in the port of Beirut increased from 465,000 TEUs in 2005 to 1.3 million cases in 2018, achieving a CAGR of 8.3 percent. While port revenues increased from US$89 million to US$313 million during this period, representing a CAGR of 107.35 percent.
Due to improper storage management, the forgotten 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate triggered a disaster with a lethality equivalent to a small nuclear bomb, leaving the port almost to pieces. The explosion exposed the major negligence of Beirut port management and embodied the serious loopholes in the management of hazardous chemicals in Beirut port. The Lebanese Prime Minister emphasized that “a truck carrying more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate parked in a warehouse for six years without taking any precautions. This is unacceptable.”
Germany starts ordering 2022 vaccines, local leaders suggest approval of Chinese vaccines
German Health Minister Jens Spahn revealed on Saturday (30th) that the country has now begun to order the 2022 vaccine, because the spread of the variant new coronavirus may require an increase in the dose in the future.
According to Reuters news on the 31st, Spann said in a video conference for medical staff on the 30th that Germany is currently ordering 2022 vaccines, and at least some of them must be obtained first because no one knows whether there is a need to increase the number of vaccine injections in the future, or In order to maintain immunity to the new coronavirus, vaccines must be purchased in advance as a preventive measure. Spann said that 2.3 million people out of the 83 million German population have received the first dose of vaccine, but because vaccine manufacturers such as AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Modena, and other vaccine manufacturers suddenly announced reductions in production, European governments faced a shortage of vaccines. Both are quite a headache. The German government has set up a new vaccination task force, and it is also expected to convene federal and local government representatives, pharmaceutical companies, and EU representatives for a vaccine meeting on the 1st.
Germany, as the largest economy in Europe, stalled during the second blockade in November. Many Germans envied the faster vaccination rates in Britain, Israel, and other countries. The German federal government has continuously received criticisms of too slow vaccination progress. German media described the government vaccine program as a “scandal.” Public opinion surveys show that people’s satisfaction with the government’s epidemic prevention has dropped to 49%, the lowest point since the epidemic.
Before the meeting of the new vaccination working group, some powerful regional leaders in Germany also expressed dissatisfaction with the federal epidemic prevention and control measures. The governor of Bavaria, Markus Soeder, put forward a new proposal that requires the federal state to allow the state to have more say in the supply of vaccines to the groups most in need. Soder said, “We need an emergency vaccine economy system, and the country must formulate clear rules,” he called on the authorities to consider approving Chinese and Russian vaccines for use in other European countries.
According to reports, as of the 30th, Germany had 13,321 new cases and 794 deaths in a single day, with a total of more than 2.21 million confirmed cases and 56,000 deaths. Although the number of cases per 100,000 people has dropped by 3 in the past 7 days to 91 cases. The government stated that the number must be less than 50 cases to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. In addition, the German Ministry of the Interior said that due to the growing domestic concerns about the mutant virus, it is currently preparing to impose restrictions on the entry of passengers from the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa.
The U.S. and Russia reach an agreement on extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
On January 26, US President Biden had a telephone conversation with Russian President Putin for the first time after taking office. The Russian Kremlin stated that the two sides agreed to extend the arms control agreement “New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty,” and the US White House also said that the two sides will work on extending the treaty.
Russian Satellite News Agency quoted the Kremlin News Service on the 26th as saying that Putin and Biden reached an agreement on extending the “New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty” during a telephone conversation. The source said: “In the near future, both parties will complete all necessary procedures to ensure that this important international mechanism for mutual restriction of nuclear weapons continues to take effect.”
Reuters reported on the 26th that the White House did not immediately confirm the Kremlin’s statement. However, the White House issued a statement saying that the leaders of the United States and Russia agreed to let their working groups urgently start work on the extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
The United States and Russia signed the “New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty” in 2010, which aims to limit the number of strategic nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles deployed by the two countries. After the US-Russia “China-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty” expired in 2019, the “New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty” became the only arms control treaty between the two countries. The treaty will expire on February 5, 2021, but the validity of the treaty can be negotiated between the two countries It will be extended at most 5 years later. In 2020, the United States and Russia launched several rounds of negotiations on the extension of the treaty. In October of that year, the two sides proposed to extend the treaty for one year but ultimately failed to finalize the details.
U.S. COVID-19 patient dies hours after vaccination
A person infected with the new coronavirus in California, USA, died a few hours after being vaccinated with the new coronavirus on the 21st. The cause of death has not been identified, and it is not clear whether the deceased was vaccinated with Modena or Pfizer.
According to Fox News, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office in California announced on Saturday (23rd) that a resident who tested positive for the new coronavirus in December 2020 will be vaccinated on January 21, 2021. Received the vaccine, but died a few hours later.
The sheriff’s office said that at present, many local, state, and federal agencies are actively investigating the case. It is too early to talk about the cause of death, and the results of the investigation are still pending.
According to the report, it is still unclear whether the vaccine for the deceased was Moderna or Pfizer.
According to previous reports, a report issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the 22nd showed that as of January 10, a total of 4,041,396 people in the United States had received the first dose of the covid vaccine developed by Modena in the United States, and a total of 1,266 cases of adverse effects were reported Reaction events (adverse reaction rate is about 0.03%), including 10 allergic reactions. Previously, the center reported that as of December 23, 2020, a total of 1,893,360 people in the United States had received the first dose of Pfizer’s covid vaccine, and a total of 4,393 adverse events were reported, including 21 allergic reactions.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, in the past month, an average of 423 people died of new coronavirus every day in California. The state has currently recorded 36,362 deaths.