An accident that occurs a few days before the second anniversary of the devastating explosion that occurred in this port. Part of the damaged grain silos in the port of Beirut collapsed on Sunday July 31 following a fire. A cloud of dust covered the port after the collapse of two towers, noted journalists from Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Journalist Salman Andary, from the SkyNews Arabia news channel, notably shared a video of the partial collapse of the grain silos at the port of Beirut.
Army helicopters immediately flew over the area to drop water and attempt to completely extinguish the fire in the structure. “Two other towers are in danger of collapsing”, said the Minister of Public Works, Ali Hamiyé. More than two weeks ago, a fire broke out in the most damaged part of the silos, caused according to the authorities and experts by the fermentation of the remaining grain stocks, combined with high temperatures.
The fire rekindled the trauma of relatives of victims of the August 4, 2020 explosion, which left more than two dead and 6,500 injured and devastated entire neighborhoods of the Lebanese capital. The explosion was triggered in a warehouse housing hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate stored carelessly. Hit hard by the blast of the explosion, the grain silos of the port had partially collapsed.
Need to evacuate the area and wear masks
The flames and smoke rising since the beginning of the month from the silos were still visible. After the fire, Prime Minister Najib Mikati warned this week that part of the silos were in danger of collapsing and called on the army and the disaster management directorate to be “on alert”.
Parts of the silos still contain some 3,000 tonnes of wheat and other grains that could not be removed due to the danger of collapse, authorities said. The environment and health ministries have issued recommendations for the public in the event of the silos collapsing, including the need to evacuate the area, wear masks and close housing windows.
In April, Lebanon ordered the demolition of the silos, but the decision was suspended due to opposition from relatives of the victims of the tragedy, who want to make it a place of memory. “I cried when I learned that silos had collapsedtold AFP Cécile Roukoz, who lost her brother in the August 4 explosion. We want them to stay put as witnesses to the crime (…) and in memory of those who lost their lives for no reason. »
The investigation into the causes of the tragedy of August 4, 2020 has been suspended for months due to political obstruction. Blamed for criminal negligence, the authorities are accused by the families of the victims and NGOs of torpedoing her to avoid charges.