Lebanon to partially demolish grain silos at Beirut port following collapse

Lebanon to partially demolish grain silos at Beirut port following collapse
Officials want to demolish grain silos at Beirut port after some of them collapsed on the second anniversary of the blast which killed over 200 people and injured thousands more in the Lebanese capital
2 min read
17 August, 2022
The deadly explosion at Beirut port killed more than 200 people in 2020 [Getty]

Lebanese officials have confirmed plans to demolish the northern section of the grain silos at Beirut port, just weeks after the country marked the second anniversary of the deadly blast, local media reported.

A meeting between caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and caretaker Environment Minister Nasser Yassin concluded with a decision to bring down the remaining part of the silos following a partial collapse earlier this month.

“When demolishing the northern silos in a technical way, we can clean all the landfills and grains, and prevent the source of the fire that emits pollutants and affects people’s health,” Yassin said, according to Al Akbar.

“After cleaning this rubble, we can focus on the southern silos and work to strengthen them,” the official added.

Earlier this month, grain silos at the port partially collapsed for the second time in a week, on the two-year anniversary of the 4 August 2020 blast which killed over 220 and wounded 7,000.

Authorities issued warnings hours prior to the collapse, closing off the main highway adjacent the port and evacuating workers from within 500 metres of the affected area.

It was caused by a blaze that had been burning in the silos for the past three weeks, started after wheat released from the silos during the 2020 blast fermented and caught fire.

The port silos held special significance for many Beirut residents and particularly the survivors of the port blast.

The structure absorbed much of the shock wave of the explosion and shielded much of the city from even more damage.

In April, the government announced plans to demolish the silos, despite stiff public opposition.

Local architects have objected to such demolitions, saying it would be cheaper to rehabilitate the structure than to destroy and rebuild them.

Survivors of the explosion also rejected the government's plans, saying reconstruction should not come before justice is done.

No port or government official has been prosecuted for the 2020 blast, which was caused by tonnes of improperly stored ammonium nitrate.

Other people wanted to keep the silos as a monument to the 4 August event and the inability of the government to prevent it.