Status: 07/31/2022 7:35 p.m.
A grain silo has partially collapsed in the port of Beirut, particularly affected by the explosion two years ago. A fire had been burning in the complex for more than two weeks.
In the port of the Lebanese capital Beirut, one of the iconic grain silos has partially collapsed – almost exactly two years to the day after the devastating explosion. Local media reported the collapse of two towers in the northern part of the silo. Video footage showed a section of the silo collapsing, debris falling to the ground and a cloud of dust. So far, no deaths or injuries have been reported.
The silo was particularly affected by the explosion in the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020. The detonation occurred because the ammonium nitrate fertilizer stored without protective measures had ignited. As a result of the accident, more than 200 people died and more than 6500 were injured. The investigation into the circumstances of the accident had been hampered during the first weeks. Observers suspect for political reasons. Relatives of the victims and non-governmental organizations accuse the authorities of systematically concealing their possible co-responsibility.
Fire caused by burning grain
Lebanon’s acting Prime Minister Najib Mikati had already warned of a collapse last Wednesday. The army must prepare for a collapse; Workers, civil protection workers and firefighters had been ordered to keep a safe distance from the towers. Citizens must wear respirators around the silo in the event of a collapse.
A fire broke out at the complex two weeks ago after grain burst into flames – authorities say the result of fermentation processes aided by the summer heat. According to Mikati, about 3,000 tons of wheat and corn were still stored in the towers, but according to official information, they could not be removed because it would have accelerated the collapse.
demolition work suspended
In April, the Lebanese government ordered the demolition of the remains of the silo. However, work had been halted – among other things because relatives of those who died in the August 2020 explosion had requested that the ruins be kept as a place of remembrance. The silos at the port of Beirut had a storage capacity of more than 100,000 tons before the explosion. After the crash, their 48-meter-tall remains served as a sort of memorial for the explosion.