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Beirut’s battered hospitals struggle in aftermath of explosion

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3171 (Published 11 August 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3171
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Beirut, which was due to re-enter lockdown this week to tackle resurgent covid-19, must instead find shelter for nearly 300 000 newly homeless people, or about one resident in eight, after a blast of almost nuclear proportions devastated entire neighbourhoods of the city.

Three of Beirut’s hospitals were wrecked and closed by the blast, two others were damaged, and a warehouse that held stocks of medicines and most of the country’s vaccine supply was among the buildings flattened in the port district. More than three quarters of the grain in Lebanon, stored in port silos, was also lost.

A conflagration of fireworks nearby is believed to have detonated more than 2700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in a port warehouse, producing a blast equivalent to between 200 and 1000 tonnes of TNT, roughly similar to the smallest …

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