A Costa Rican living in Beirut, Andrea Aguilar, shared about her experience in the terrible explosion that shook the city and left so much destruction behind. She’s a journalist and was working from a cafe around 6pm on Tuesday.
The floors began to bounce and then, five seconds later, the windows and doors exploded. Being from Costa Rica, she first thought it was a tremor and got under a table. She quickly realized this was no earthquake. She remembers telling the girls next to her, “I am from Costa Rica. I know that an earthquake is not like this.”
2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate detonated from a yet unknown cause. The warehouse that exploded was three kilometers from her location, yet she thought it was on the same street as her because of how strong they felt the detonation.
She decided to get out and run home. She saw a red cloud spreading through the city. People were shocked and confused rather than screaming and crying.
This event is being referred to as “a great national disaster.” People are urged to stay in their homes and away from windows, as the toxicity levels in the air are still unknown.
Because of covid-19, there are only three days people can be out at shops and banks each week and the explosion happened on one of these days when the city, smaller than San José, was crowded. The death and injury figure is still rising.
As she processes what happened, Aguilar sees photos that look like a war happened and hears news of a possible military presence in coming weeks because of the catastrophe.