Jo Kassis | PEXELS

Aug 05, 2022

Beirut Grain Silos Collapse on Second Anniversary of Explosion

Port blast two years ago killed 220 people

A large section of Beirut’s giant port grain silos, which were shredded by a massive explosion two years ago, have collapsed as hundreds marched in the city to mark the second anniversary of the blast that killed nearly 220 people.

NBC News reports the northern block of the silos consisting of four towers had been slowly tilting for days and collapsed, causing a huge cloud of dust that covered the structure that shielded Beirut’s western neighborhoods when the blast occurred on August 4, 2020.

ABC reported that authorities had evacuated parts of the port earlier this week, after an initial section of the silos collapsed on Sunday.

Two-year anniversary of explosion

The explosion in 2020 injured more than 6,000 people and caused damage worth billions of dollars was said to be caused by highly explosive ammonia nitrate being stored at the port.

The blast at the city's port, which manages 60% of all imports for the country, left Beirut's largest grain elevator severely damaged, along with a grain terminal.

The silos held a total of 120,000 metric tons of grain and were made up of 48 big cells, with a capacity of 2,500 metric tons each, and 50 small cells that held 500 metric tons each.

The silos served as a strategic storage for Lebanon, with about 85% of the country's cereals stored in the facility.

Investigation into explosion stalled

The domestic investigation into the explosion has been stalled since December following legal challenges by charged and accused officials against the judge leading the investigation.

The judge leading the Lebanese investigation, had charged four former senior government officials as well as several top security officials in the case.

Many blame the Lebanese government’s longtime corruption and mismanagement, saying it paved way for the tragedy when hundreds of tonnes of highly explosive ammonia nitrate detonated at the port.

Lisa Cleaver

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