Section of Beirut grain silos damaged in 2020 Lebanon explosion collapses

Section of Beirut grain silos damaged in 2020 Lebanon explosion collapses

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The northern section of a previously damaged set of grain silos in Beirut collapsed Tuesday after a fire slowly burned in the block for weeks when grains trapped inside ignited.

The silos were first damaged in August 2020 when a nearby port warehouse storing ammonium nitrate fertilizer exploded in a blast that killed over 200 people, wounded 7,000 and destroyed 77,000 apartments. 

This grab from AFPTV footage shot on Aug. 23, 2022, shows a smoke plume rising after the new collapse of the northern section of the grain silos at the port of Lebanon's capital Beirut, which were previously partly destroyed by the 2020 port explosion.

This grab from AFPTV footage shot on Aug. 23, 2022, shows a smoke plume rising after the new collapse of the northern section of the grain silos at the port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut, which were previously partly destroyed by the 2020 port explosion.
(DYLAN COLLINS/AFPTV/AFP via Getty Images)

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The Tuesday collapse created a cloud of dust over the port city and took down eight other damaged silos in the site’s northern block.

The silo’s norther section had been slowly tipping over since the first explosion two years ago, but the severity of the site’s deterioration began to accelerate after it caught fire last month.

Part of the Beirut port grain silos collapses in Beirut, Lebanon, on Aug. 4, 2022. The further collapse of the structure came after part of the Beirut port grain silos collapsed on Sunday.

Part of the Beirut port grain silos collapses in Beirut, Lebanon, on Aug. 4, 2022. The further collapse of the structure came after part of the Beirut port grain silos collapsed on Sunday.
(Bilal Jawich/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Tuesday’s collapse comes just weeks after one section of the silos fell on July 31 followed by an additional collapse on the second anniversary of the blast on Aug. 4.

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No one is believed to have been hurt in the latest collapse as the site has long been evacuated.

Dust rises after part of the Beirut port grain silos collapsed in Beirut, Lebanon, on Aug. 4, 2022.

Dust rises after part of the Beirut port grain silos collapsed in Beirut, Lebanon, on Aug. 4, 2022.
(Bilal Jawich/Xinhua via Getty Images)

In August, the United Nations said family members of victims killed in the blast “still await justice” and called for an international investigation into the deadly event. 

“This tragedy marked one of the largest non-nuclear blasts in recent memory, yet the world has done nothing to find out why it happened,” the UN human rights office said in a statement.  

A general view shows the northern collapsed section of the silos in the Port of Beirut, on August 23, 2022 in Beirut, Lebanon.

A general view shows the northern collapsed section of the silos in the Port of Beirut, on August 23, 2022 in Beirut, Lebanon.
(Marwan Tahtah/Getty Images)

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The Lebanese government ordered the destruction of the remaining damaged silos in April, but the decision was suspended after victim’s family members protested the move and argued the silos could contain useful information for an investigation. 

Others have called for the silos to remain as a memorial to those lost in the deadly 2020 blast. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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