Authorities back down on decision to completely demolish Beirut port silos

Authorities back down on decision to completely demolish Beirut port silos

First change: 08/18/2022 – 11:01

On Wednesday, August 17, the Lebanese authorities reversed the decision taken in April 2022 to completely demolish the silos in the port of Beirut that were badly damaged in the August 4, 2020 explosion. This measure had caused outrage among parts of the public and the families of the victims of this disaster, which left 220 dead and 6,500 injured.

With our correspondent in Beirut, Paul Khalifeh

The agreement, reached on Wednesday by Prime Minister Najib Mikati and two MPs close to the families of the victims and the protest, concerns the demolition of the northern section of the silos, which is in danger of collapsing due to a fire that has been ongoing since the beginning of July. .

clear away the rubble

Demolishing the northern section, which stands at a very steep angle to the rest of the structure, will clear the rubble and put out the heat and fermentation fire of hundreds of tons of rotting grain. The southern part of the silos can then be consolidated into a “silent witness” to the August 4, 2020 tragedy, as the victims’ families wish.

The fire weakened the imposing concrete structure, part of which collapsed on July 31. Several cylinders then collapsed on August 4 during a march commemorating the 2nd anniversary of the blast.

The fire has flared up again in the past two days, raising fears of a third collapse.

memory of the city

Built in the 1960s, Beirut’s 120,000-ton silos are now associated with the memory of the city. The huge concrete structure contained the blast of 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate and saved the western part of the capital from the destruction that affected the eastern sectors.