Beirut's blast-damaged grain silos partially collapse

AFP

3 min read
An aerial picture shows a view of the heavily damaged grain silos at the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut, on July 31, 2022, following a partial collapse due to an ongoing fire since the beginning of the month.
AFPAn aerial picture shows a view of the heavily damaged grain silos at the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut, on July 31, 2022, following a partial collapse due to an ongoing fire since the beginning of the month.

'Two towers have collapsed so far, and another two are in danger of collapsing,' says Ali Hamieh

Parts of Beirut's grain silos collapsed on Sunday, just days before the second anniversary of a catastrophic explosion at the Lebanese capital's port that ravaged the stores and swathes of the city.

AFP correspondents said a cloud of dust covered the port after the partial collapse of the silos, where a fire has been burning for more than two weeks.

Army helicopters doused the area with water to try to put out the blaze.

Video poster

"Two towers have collapsed so far, and another two are in danger of collapsing," in the heavily damaged silos' northern section, Public Works Minister Ali Hamieh told AFP.

The silos complex had absorbed much of the impact of the August 4, 2020, mega-blast at the port that killed more than 200 people and injured over 6,500.

The silos shielded much of the city's west from the devastating effects of the blast, which was caused by haphazardly stored ammonium nitrate fertilizer catching fire.

Sunday's partial collapse came after fire broke out at the silos earlier this month, caused by the fermentation of remaining grain stocks and soaring summer temperatures, according to authorities.

Lebanon's caretaker prime minister this week warned they could fall.

"The northern group of silos are now in danger of falling," Najib Mikati said Wednesday, adding that the silos still contained thousands of tons of wheat and corn.

He told the army to be prepared and warned workers, civil defense members and firefighters to keep a safe distance from the site.

Once boasting a capacity of more than 100,000 tons, an imposing 157-foot high remnant of the silos has become emblematic of the catastrophic port blast.

The government in April ordered their demolition due to safety concerns. Still, that move was suspended amid objections, including from relatives of blast victims who want the silos preserved as a memorial site.

This article received 0 comments