At Beirut port, more grain silos collapse after a severe blast in 2020

In the third such collapse in a month, eight additional grain silos at Beirut port collapsed on Tuesday due to damage from a deadly 2020 explosion, according to AFP correspondents.

After the last of the northern block of silos, which was more severely damaged in the blast and where a fire had been raging since July, collapsed, a cloud of dust rose above the harbor.

According to the French civil engineer Emmanuel Durand, who has installed sensors on the silos, the remaining southern block is more stable and not in immediate danger of collapsing.

When a major explosion of carelessly stored ammonium nitrate fertilizer occurred on August 4, 2020, it was largely absorbed by the silos.

On July 31 and August 4, other silos already fell. The leftover grain stocks are fermenting in the silos due to the summer heat for more than a month.

The government had planned to demolish the silos in April, but the plan was halted in part due to opposition from the bereaved families of the bomb victims who wanted them maintained as a memorial.

Last week, the government agreed to set aside 25,000 square meters (270,000 square feet) of the port for the construction of additional grain silos, according to Public Works Minister Ali Hamieh.

This is bigger than the existing complex, which takes up 21,000 square meters of space (226,000 square feet).

International donors, as well as the government, which has been rendered bankrupt by a dire financial crisis, will provide funding, according to Hamieh.


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