Iraq will create an inventory of all “hazardous materials” at its ports and airports as a precautionary measure, after a warehouse filled with ammonium nitrate fertiliser exploded in the Lebanese capital Beirut this week killing hundreds and damaging more than half the city.
The head of Iraq’s Border Ports Authority, Omar Adnan Al-Waeli, was quoted by local media as saying that he had received approval from Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi “to form an urgent committee to clear out all the country’s ports from hazardous inventory that have been accumulated at the border ports.”
Al-Waeli added that the objective was to “avoid any repetition of what happened in Lebanon in Iraq,” pointing out that he was tasked to complete the work “in 72 hours”.
The massive blast that caused widespread destruction across the Lebanese capital on Tuesday was triggered by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser that had been stored in the city’s port for years. The explosion has led to more than 157 deaths, 5,000 wounded and displaced more than 300,000.
Lebanon is currently suffering severe economic and political crises, and it is feared that it would never recover from the consequences of the explosion without international support.