The pictures are impressive. In Lebanon this Sunday, July 31, 2022, part of the silos in the port of Beirut collapsed in the middle of the afternoon, releasing a thick cloud of smoke and dust. The incident happened days before the second anniversary of the devastating explosion at that port.
More than two weeks ago, a fire broke out in the most damaged part of the silos, which authorities and experts say was caused by the fermentation of the remaining grain stocks combined with high temperatures.
A very fragile structure
The fire reignited the trauma of families of victims of the August 4, 2020 blast, leaving more than 200 dead and 6,500 injured and devastating entire neighborhoods of the Lebanese capital.
The August 4 explosion was triggered in a warehouse where hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate were carelessly stored. The port’s grain silos were badly hit by the blast from the blast and partially collapsed.
After the fire, Prime Minister Najib Mikati warned this week that part of the silos were in danger of collapsing, calling on the military and the Directorate of Disaster Management “Be alarmed”.
Demolition considered, then suspended
Parts of the silos still contain about 3,000 tons of wheat and other grains that could not be removed due to the risk of collapse, authorities said.
The Departments of Environment and Health have issued recommendations for the public in the event of silo collapses, including the need to evacuate the area, wear masks and close apartment 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 turn it into a place of remembrance.
The investigation into the causes of the tragedy of August 4, 2020 has been suspended for months due to political obstruction. The authorities are accused of criminal negligence and have been accused by victims’ families and NGOs of torpedoing them to avoid prosecution