After weeks of fire: Beirut grain silo collapses

After weeks of fire: Beirut grain silo collapses

In the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut, one of the symbolic grain silos partially collapsed. The civil defense announced today. Videos showed a huge cloud of dust spreading across the area after the collapse. A fire had been burning for more than two weeks in the silos, which for many Lebanese have become a symbol of the devastating 2020 explosion. Residents of the area stayed indoors to avoid inhaling the dust. It is still unclear whether anyone was injured.

In August 2020, a massive explosion occurred in the port of Beirut. At that time, more than 190 people died and about 6,000 were injured. The harbor and much of the adjacent residential areas were destroyed. Large amounts of the highly explosive chemical ammonium nitrate, which had been stored in the harbor for years without protective measures, detonated. To this day, authorities have not explained exactly how the substance arrived at the port.

planned demolition

In April, the authorities decided to demolish the silos against the resistance of bereaved family members. Experts suspect that the silos absorbed some of the force of the blast and thus prevented even greater damage. Victims’ relatives wanted to keep the silos as a token of remembrance – at least until the investigation into the explosion was completed.

Many were reminded today of the blast itself, which severely damaged the harbor and surrounding areas. The collapse came just days before the second anniversary of Thursday’s disaster.