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Lebanon: parts of Beirut port grain silos collapse

Part of the grain silos at Beirut Port collapsed just days before the second anniversary of the massive explosion that damaged them

Part of the grain silos at Beirut Port collapsed on Sunday just days before the second anniversary of the massive explosion that damaged them, sending a cloud of dust over the capital and reviving traumatic memories of the blast that killed more than 215 people, Reuters reported.

The agency said there were no immediate reports of injuries.

Lebanese officials warned last week that part of the silos; a towering reminder of the catastrophic 4 August  2020 explosion, could collapse after the northern portion began tilting at an accelerated rate.

A fire had been smouldering in the silos for several weeks which officials said was the result of summer heat igniting fermenting grains that have been left rotting inside since the explosion.

The 2020 blast was caused by ammonium nitrate unsafely stored at the port since 2013. It is widely seen by Lebanese as a symbol of corruption and bad governance by a ruling elite that has also steered the country into a devastating financial collapse.

One of the most powerful non-nuclear blasts on record, the explosion wounded some 6,000 people and shattered swathes of Beirut, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless.

READ: Beirut port fire revives trauma ahead of blast anniversary

The Lebanese Minister of Transport and Public Works in the caretaker government, Ali Hamie, told Reuters he feared more parts of the silos could collapse imminently.

Environment Minister Nasser Yassin said that while the authorities did not know if other parts of the silos would fall, the southern part was more stable.

The fire at the silos, glowing orange at night inside a port that still resembles a disaster zone, had put many Beirut residents on edge for weeks.

There has been controversy over what to do with the damaged silos.

The government took a decision in April to destroy them, angering victims' families who wanted them left to preserve the memory of the blast. Parliament last week failed to adopt a law that would have protected them from demolition.

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