PHOTO: IBRAHIM AMRO/AFP via Getty Images
Two grain silos at Beirut's port partially collapsed on Thursday, two years to the day after a massive explosion ripped through the city and killed 218 people.The collapse of the silos and the ensuing cloud of smoke and debris was eerily reminiscent of the devastating 2020 blast, which became a symbol of the country's political deadlock, corruption and steep decline.
The collapse came as people were due to commemorate victims on the second anniversary of the blast.No official was ever charged over the blast, which was caused by a large amount of confiscated ammonium nitrate that had been kept without proper safety measures for six years.Initially, part of the massive grain storage unit collapsed over the weekend after a massive fire was sparked by fermenting grain in the summer heat. The collapse of the silos had been predicted and happened in a cordoned-off area.
The silos were severely damaged during the 2020 blast, and locals in Lebanon's capital city had been urging the government, which has been hindered by long-running political deadlock fuelled by partisan interests, to take action to save the silos since the fires started mid-July.The country has been in financial turmoil since 2019, and has led to widespread protests over declining living standards and a lack of basics such as electricity and medication.