A section of Beirut’s grain silos collapsed on Thursday, the same day Lebanon marked the second anniversary of a deadly explosion at the port of Beirut that destroyed the city and damaged the same grain silos, Nationala UAE-based newspaper, reported.
“A block of silos damaged in the Beirut port explosion collapsed on Thursday.” National reported on August 4.
– The collapse occurred while people gathered nearby to mark the anniversary of the explosion, according to the newspaper.
A haphazardly stored cargo of ammonium nitrate, commonly used in fertilizer, ignited on August 4, 2020, at the port of Beirut, causing a massive burn. Beirut’s nearby grain silos received much of the blast’s impact and helped shield the city’s western region from the blast.
The grain silos suffered significant damage during the incident and were therefore in a weakened state when a fire broke out at the plant around 8 July due to high summer temperatures. The fire spread “after flames reached nearby electrical cables,” according to Lebanon’s government. The fire continued until July 31, when “two towers fell in the heavily damaged northern part of the silo,” Agence France-Presse reported. The same fire was reportedly underway in Beirut’s grain silo facility on August 4 when it caused an additional section of stores to collapse.
“The northern block of the silos, consisting of four towers, had been slowly tilting for several days before collapsing, causing a huge cloud of dust,” the Associated Press (AP) reported, noting that Thursday’s collapse affected about 25 percent of the grain. storage space.
“The authorities had evacuated parts of the port earlier this week – after a first part of the silos collapsed on Sunday [July 31] — as a precaution, and there were no indications that anyone was injured,” according to the AP.
The August 4, 2020, explosion in the Port of Beirut killed nearly 220 people and injured more than 6,000 others. The explosion obliterated large parts of Beirut, an ancient Mediterranean port city and Lebanon’s national capital, and resulted in billions of dollars in damage. Lebanon had struggled economically just before the explosion and was therefore ill-equipped to cope with the disaster. The blaze destroyed much of Beirut’s food supply as it blew up the city’s grain silos, compromising tons of corn and wheat that Lebanon could not afford to replace.
Lebanon’s government has led an official investigation into the cause of the incident, although the investigation has repeatedly stalled over the past 24 months.
“Lebanese government officials – including President Michel Aoun and then-Prime Minister Hassan Diab – had prior knowledge of the explosive material stored insecurely at the port, but failed to do anything about it,” National reported June 16.
The paper referred to Beirut port’s negligently stored ammonium nitrate, which has allegedly been sitting in the port for years.
“[M]Several Lebanese authorities were at least criminally negligent under Lebanese law in their handling of the cargo, creating an unreasonable risk to life,” Human Rights Watch stated in August 2021, citing evidence available at the time.