The 98 barrels containing an estimated 2,000 tonnes of high explosive had been stored for two years in the open, in temperatures of up to 102F (40C), despite concerns of officers from the Cypriot National Guard. The explosion at the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base, on the southern coast of the island near the town of Zygi, happened shortly before 6am local time. Fire services had been called to a blaze at the base, apparently in the brush, at 4.24, but the flames enveloped two of the barrels, setting off the blast. The shock wave could be heard 40 miles away in the capital, Nicosia. The country's defence minister and military chief both resigned in the wake of the explosion, which also injured 62 people.
Television footage showed the walls stripped from the power plant at Vassilikou, next to the base, which supplies more than half Cyprus's electricity. The authorities urged residents to cut down their use of both electricity and water, since much of the island's drinking supplies comes
from desalination plants.
Also affected by the power outage was a BBC relay station, six of whose transmitters, broadcasting English-language services to the Middle East, were disrupted. . .
(via Chuck Albertson, Glen Hauser, DXLD List )