Two more grain deposits at the port of Beirut, in Lebanon, partially collapsed this Thursday (4). On Sunday (31), the first of about 15 warehouses at the site collapsed, due to grain fermentation inside caused by excessive heat.
All the warehouses, however, were seriously damaged by the mega-explosion that occurred in the port of Beirut exactly two years ago, which left around 215 dead and revealed a deep political and economic crisis in the city.
Since the beginning of the month, the warehouses, which measure about 48 meters, have suffered from fires due to fermentation. Since then, firefighters have not been able to put out all the flames, which have burned for weeks.
Image shows smoke caused by the collapse of two warehouses in the port of Beirut, Lebanon, on August 4, 2022. — Photo: Ahmad Al Kerdi/ Reuters
Last week, Lebanon’s Ministries of Health and Environment even recommended that residents of areas close to the port leave their homes well ventilated. The structure of the warehouses had already been damaged after the 2020 explosion, and part of it ended up collapsing in the fire.
Local officials said the rest of the structure could collapse at any time.
Watch the explosion at the port of Beirut, Lebanon in slow motion
The collapse comes exactly two years after a massive explosion in the port of Beirut, which killed more than 215 people and injured more than 6,000 on August 4, 2020.
The incident occurred after the leakage of hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate that were stored in one of the city’s warehouses.
Last year, the non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch accused the Lebanese authorities of criminal negligence over the episode. In a 126-page report, the NGO documented a series of violations by politicians and the country’s security bodies in managing the storage of hazardous materials at the port.
“Lebanese officials knew the risk posed by ammonium nitrate. By not taking any measures to protect the population, they tacitly accepted this risk,” said Aya Majzoub, one of the writers of the report.