At 6:08 pm on August 4th, 2020, in Beirut, Lebanon, it is a sweltering hot day in this ancient Mediterranean city which is home to 2.2 million people. The nation is suffering its worst crisis since the end of the civil war which lasted from 1975 to 1990. Without any economic reform by the new government, the Lebanese pound is collapsing and fresh groceries are hard to come by and the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps across the country.
Towards the evening of the 4th, a fire starts to break out in a warehouse in the port, the warehouse was filled with 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate. As a result, the fire leads to an explosion that is so massive that it could be heard in Cyprus and is registered as an earthquake in the United States. The city of Beirut is devastated, the final death toll is more than 200 with thousands more wounded or homeless.
One year after the explosion, the exact cause has still not been determined. It’s also unclear who bears responsibility for the catastrophe. The whole government under Lebanese prime minister Hassan Diab had to step down – but is still in office in a caretaker role. No one has yet been held accountable. The film is an attempt to reconstruct the events.
Directed by: Paul Russel