Monday, April 15, 2024

Port of Beirut: Another collapse of silos

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Cole Hanson
Cole Hanson
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The last part of the northern block of silos collapsed in the port of Beirut, Tuesday, two years after the explosion that left more than 200 people dead, 6,500 injured and destroyed entire neighborhoods in the Lebanese capital.

A cloud of smoke forms after eight towers of a building damaged by the August 4, 2020 explosion in the port collapsed.

The explosion occurred in a warehouse containing hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate stored without precautions. Much of the population has blamed this on the corruption and neglect of the ruling class.

France Press agency

The towers that collapsed on Tuesday were the last in the northern block.

For now, the remaining towers in the southern block are stable, according to French civil engineer Emmanuel Durand who installed sensors indoors.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati sent a letter to the Minister of Public Works and Transport Ali Hami, on Tuesday, calling for the preservation of the Southern Bloc as a “memorial site for the martyrs of the port,” according to his office.

France Press agency

In total there were 48 silos. Only a dozen of them were still standing, and all of them were located in the southern block.

Prior to this new collapse, relatives of the victims had called a sit-in at the port, which had been scheduled for late Tuesday afternoon.

“We hold the authorities responsible” for the collapse of the silos, said Mariana Vodolian, who lost her sister in the blast.

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“The southern part and the whole site must be protected (…)” as a place of remembrance for the victims, she added.

France Press agency

On July 31 and August 4, other towers collapsed after a fire broke out in early July in the worst-hit part, due to fermentation of the remaining grain stocks, according to authorities and experts, along with rising temperatures.

Since then, several towers have been burning in flames.

The authorities had in April ordered the silos to be demolished, but the decision was suspended due to opposition from relatives of the victims of the tragedy who want to make it a place of remembrance.

The Minister of Public Works and Transport had announced that 25,000 square meters of the capital’s port would be allocated for the construction of new silos, adding that the funding would come from international donors and his ministry.

The investigation into the causes of the tragedy has been suspended for several months due to political obstruction by the authorities.

France Press agency

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