Mid of August 2020
What was shaping up as a very quiet week across the world, did not stay quiet very long. The world was once again brought to its knees after a massive explosion in the Port of Beirut, Lebanon
With more than 171 confirmed dead and over 6000 injured, this was not a small explosion.
The Port of Beirut and customs office is notorious for being one of the most corrupt and lucrative institutions in Lebanon where various factions and politicians including Hezbelloh, hold power.
The investigation is focusing on how 2,500 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical used in fertilizers, came to be stored at the port for close to seven years and why nothing was done about it.
Losses are estimated to be between $10-15 Billion and nearly 300,000 people are homeless. Hospitals were overwhelmed by the injured. One hospital that was damaged in the blast had to evacuate all of its patients to a nearby field for treatment.
Lebanon was already on the brink of collapse amid a severe economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. Many have lost their jobs and seen their savings evaporate. Food security is a worry since the county imports nearly all of its vital goods and its main port is now devastated and the government is strapped for cash.
Fueling speculation that negligence was to blame for the explosion, an official letter circulating online showed the head of the customs department had warned repeatedly over the years that the huge stockpile of ammonium nitrate stored at the port was a danger and asked judicial officials for a ruling on a way to remove it. The head of the customs department, Badri Daher, confirmed to the local LBC TV channel that there were five or six such letters sent to the judicial officials. He also mentioned that his predecessor also pleaded with the judicial officials to issue orders to export the explosive materials because of how dangerous they are to the port and the staff who work there. Ammonium nitrate is a component of a fertilizer that is potentially explosive. The 2500 tonne cargo has been stored at the port since it was confiscated from a ship in 2013 and on Tuesday, August 4th, it is believed to have detonated after a fire broke out nearby.
President Michel Aoun vowed before a cabinet meeting that the investigation would be transparent and those responsible would be punished. After the meeting, the cabinet ordered an unspecified number of Beirut port officials put under house arrest pending the investigation. Things have gotten so bad that angry and grieving protesters read aloud the names of the 171 people who perished in the explosion and called for the removal of Lebanon’s President, Michel Aoun, and other officials that they blame for the tragedy. At the protest, written across an image of the President were the words “HE KNEW”. Reports indicate that the President and Prime Minister were warned in July about the warehoused ammonium nitrate and chose to ignore it. Search operations continue for 30-40 more people still missing.
The massive explosion at the Port of Beirut was not the only incident where human lives were lost. An Air India Express Flight which skidded off a rain-soaked runway hit a wall and split in half killing at least 17 people and injuring 120 more.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to those people who lost their lives and to the many thousands who were injured in the explosion and plane crash.
Back home, the summer continues and the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to lose. Some things will never change.
With back to school just around the corner, the government still has not provided any guidelines about how or when kids will be going back to school. It looks more and more like the kids are going back to school but in what capacity, no one knows for sure.
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MBE is highly active in creating social awareness through social media with regards to social distancing measures and how necessary they have been in the current pandemic. Our goal is to act as a catalyst in helping the Government through tough times and enable them to bounce back from problematic scenarios. The Covid-19 crisis is still having huge repercussions on the financial sector causing catastrophic cash flows problems for most companies due to having no business activities from March to June. Although various restrictions have been loosened for most businesses, it is next to impossible to get back the business they have lost during those 4 months.
Sure the Government has tried to help with their CECRA and CERB programs but like everything else in life, these programs have their flaws.
The Health & Well-being of all our customers, clients, and stakeholders is something that MBE Inc. hopes for on a daily basis. Always take precautions and measures to keep your loved ones safe when it comes to anything regarding COVID-19.
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