A helicopter irrigates the partially collapsed grain elevators in the port of Beirut, Sunday July 31, 2022. MOHAMED AZAKIR/ Portal
An accident that comes just days before the second anniversary of the devastating explosion at this port. Part of the damaged grain silos in the port of Beirut collapsed after a fire on Sunday July 31. A cloud of dust covered the port after two towers collapsed, journalists from Agence France-Presse (AFP) noted.
In particular, journalist Salman Andary from the SkyNews Arabia news channel shared a video of the partial collapse of the grain silos in 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 Public Works Minister Ali Hamiyé. 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.
The fire reignited the trauma of families of victims of the August 4, 2020 explosion. which left more than two dead and 6,500 injured and devastated entire districts of the Lebanese capital. The 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.
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They must evacuate the area and wear masks
The flames and smoke rising from the silos since the beginning of the month could still be seen. After the fire, Prime Minister Najib Mikati warned this week that part of the silos were in danger of collapsing and urged the army and the Civil Protection Directorate to be “on high alert”.
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 Environment and Health Ministries have issued recommendations for the public in the event the silos collapse, including the need to evacuate the area, wear masks and close apartment windows.
Also read: A year after the explosion in the port of Beirut, Human Rights Watch accuses the Lebanese authorities of “criminal negligence”.
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. “I cried when I heard that the silos had collapsed,” Cecile Roukoz, who lost her brother in the August 4 explosion, told AFP. We want them to remain in place 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. The authorities are accused of criminal negligence and have been accused by victims’ families and NGOs of torpedoing them to avoid prosecution.
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