Following a terrible explosion that has claimed at least 163 lives as of now, Lebanon’s Prime Minister and his entire cabinet decided to resign as the public outrage over the manmade disaster grew among the Lebanese.
PM Hassan Diab’s gesture is likely to exert greater pressure on President Michel Aoun who also faces great opposition from the Lebanese public. So far, President Aoun has rejected the idea of having an international probe to analyze the causes behind the explosion.
As of now, the only certain aspect of the explosion is that a warehouse in which more than 2,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate was stored without precaution caught fire, killing 163 so far, injuring many more and left even more homeless.
The explosion quite literally triggered a massive outburst of protests from the Lebanese, whose country already was under massive political and economic confusion. Many in the streets said that the real culprits are the political leaders and their incompetency.
When Diab called his ministers to a meeting, many of them already had resignation in their minds. The cabinet was formed in January, and has been backed by the military organization Hezbollah. The group de facto works in tandem with the official Lebanese army.
Even before the explosion, which is expected to have cost the Lebanese economy somewhere between $10 to $15 billion, the Middle Eastern nation was already negotiating a $20 billion loan with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Lebanese political system is modeled after that of France, which formerly colonized the nation. French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Beirut was one of the instigators behind the protests as a crowd naturally gathered around Macron.
Although nearly a week has passed since the explosion, which is estimated to be around 1/5th the impact of Hiroshima, volunteers and citizens are still clearing the streets full of debris. Rescue teams from around the world now transitioned to finding bodies where the explosion took place.
The people were shocked and consequently infuriated when they learned that the explosive chemical was left unattended to in a warehouse near the port of Beirut, the capital city. Moreover, the government has refused to launch even a domestic investigation into the matter.
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