Celebs Mourn Deadly Beirut Explosion While Fertilizer Compound & Fireworks Eyed as Possible Cause
People around the world, including celebrities like Halsey, Naomi Campbell and Ariana Grande, are offering support to the city of Beirut after a massive explosion on Tuesday killed at least 100 people and injured thousands more.
Workers in Lebanon's capital city were still working on Wednesday to treat the more than 4,000 people injured in the explosion, which occurred near the city’s waterfront, The New York Times reported.
Halsey, 25, first expressed her condolences on Twitter, then asked her followers for guidance as to how she could help “most effectively and immediately” — which led her to share a message encouraging people to donate to the Lebanese Red Cross.
“My heart is aching looking at these photos in Beirut,” the singer posted on Twitter.
Grande, 27, also urged fans to donate to the Lebanon Red Cross, as well as disaster relief funds.
“My heart, strength and condolences are with Lebanon and everyone affected by this tragedy,” she wrote. “Please support/donate if you’re able to, I will be doing so too.”
The shattering explosion may have begun with a fire that then spread to fireworks that then ignited ammonium nitrate being stored in the port, the Associated Press reported, citing both experts and footage from the blast.
Lebanese Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi told a local TV station that he believed more than 2,700 tons of the chemical compound — commonly used as an agricultural fertilizer — were detonated in the blast, according to the AP.
The ammonium nitrate had reportedly been stored in a warehouse at the dock since 2014, when it was confiscated from a cargo ship.
A Lebanese general, however, told local TV that it would be "naive to describe such an explosion as due to fireworks," according to CNN.
The Times reports that ammonium nitrate is also being blamed by officials for the explosion and, according to CNN, an investigation will hone in on the ammonium nitrate stored at the port.
Experts told the AP that other explosions involving the chemical compound led to similarly massive scales of damage.
Fahmi, the Lebanese minister, did not mention fireworks as a possible cause, but Boaz Hayoun, owner of the Israeli firm Tamar Group, told the AP that all signs pointed to fireworks, too.
“Before the big explosion, you can see in the center of the fire, you can see sparks, you can hear sounds like popcorn and you can hear whistles,” Hayoun said. “This is very specific behavior of fireworks, the visuals, the sounds and the transformation from a slow burn to a massive explosion.”
Meanwhile, other celebrities including supermodel Naomi Campbell and actress Salma Hayek also expressed their condolences to the city, where more than 300,000 people have been displaced from their homes, according to the Times.
Campbell, 50, shared a set of photos that featured her spending time in Beirut, including one in which she hugged a heart-shaped statue that sat in the middle of an “I [Heart] Beirut” statue.
“My thoughts, prayers and love go out to the people of Lebanon and their families 🇱🇧 💔🙏🏾#Beirut #LinkInBio ( my memories of downtown of how I will remember it ),” she wrote, while directing her followers to a community-driven resource list of ways to help.
Hayek, who has Lebanese heritage, shared video of the shocking explosion and subsequent chaos to Instagram.
“My broken heart goes out to all the people who have lost loved ones and who are in the affected areas of my beloved Beirut,” she wrote.
Tuesday’s explosion was so powerful, it was felt more than 150 miles away in Cyprus, the Times reported, adding that the neighborhood in which it occurred was “essentially flattened.”
“What we are witnessing is a huge catastrophe,” the head of Lebanon’s Red Cross, George Kettani, told the Beirut-based news network Al Mayadeen, per the Times. “There are victims and casualties everywhere.”