Lebanon marks 3rd anniversary of Beirut explosion
The final death toll remains disputed three years after Beirut’s massive port blast, and many Lebanes have less faith in their disintegrating state institutions than ever before.
Family members of some of those killed are still struggling to get their loved ones recognized as blast victims as the country marks the anniversary of the explosion on Aug. 4, 2020. The blast killed at least 218 people, wounded more than 6,000 and devastated large areas of Beirut, causing billions of dollars in damage, according to the Associated Press.
Five-month-old Qusai Ramadan, a Syrian refugee child, is not recognized as a blast victim. As a result of the explosion, the ceiling and cupboard in his hospital room collapsed, crushing him to death. It has been impossible for the parents to add the infant to the official death list, a move that could have made them eligible for compensation in the future.
The authorities were accused of discriminating against non-Lebanese victims.
Meanwhile, the blast anniversary renewed calls for an international investigation of those responsible, including top officials responsible for allowing hundreds of tons of highly flammable ammonium nitrate, a material used in fertilizers, to be improperly stored for years at a warehouse in the port.
A letter of appeal was sent by Lebanese and international organizations, survivors, and families of the victims to the United Nations Human Rights Council, saying that justice and accountability have not been achieved.