Beirut Silo Collapses, Reviving Trauma Ahead Of Blast Anniversary
PARIS, France - Part of the grain silos at Beirut Port collapsed on Sunday just days before the second anniversary of the massive explosion that damaged them, sending a cloud of fust over the capital and reviving traumatic memories of the blast that killed more than 215 people.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
Lebanese officials warned last week that part of the silos - a towering reminder of the catastrophic Aug.4, 2020 explosion - could collapse after the northern portion behan tilting at an accelerate rate.
'It was the same feeling as when the blast happened, we remembered the explosion', said Tarek Hussein, a resident of nearby Karantina area, who was out buying groceries with his son when the collapse happened. 'A few big pieces fell and my son got scared when he saw it', he said.
A fire had been smoldering in the silos for several weeks which officials said was the result of summer heat igniting fermenting grains that have been left rotting inside since the explosion.
The 2020 blast was caused by ammonium nitrate unsafely stored at the port since 2013. It is widely seen by Lebanese as a symbol of corruption and bad governance by a ruling elite that has also steered the country into a devastating financial collapse.
One of the most powerful non - nuclear blasts on record, the explosion wounded some 6,000 people and shattered swathes of Beirut, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless.
Alie Hamie, the minister of transport and public works in the caretaker government, told Reuters he feared more parts of the silos could collapse imminently.
'REMOVING TRACES' OF AUG 4
There has been controversy over what do to with the damaged silos.
The government took a decision in April to destroy them, angering victims' families who wanted them left to preserve the memory of the blast. Parliament last week failed to adopt a law that would have protected them from demolition.
Citizens' hopes that there will be accountability for the 2020 blast have dimmed as the investigating judge has faced high - level political resistance, including legal complaints lodged by senior officials he has sought of interrogate.
Prime Minister - designate Najib Mikati has he rejects any interference in the probe and wants it to run its course.