BEIRUT — Families of the victims of the Aug. 4, 2020 port explosion held a sit-in near the grain silos Wednesday, after a fire had erupted in the silos for the third time in a week, while the caretaker Public Works Minister said he had ordered firefighters not to approach the blaze out of fear that the silos would collapse.
Here’s what we know:
• William Noun, a spokesperson for the families of the victims told L’Orient Today that authorities want the silos destroyed, “falsely claiming that studies have shown the structure is in danger of collapsing, so we assume the fire that keeps erupting is them trying to destroy any evidence.”
• The civil defense were not allowed by authorities to go near the silos as the area is deemed an unsafe zone, caretaker Public Works Minister Ali Hamieh said Wednesday, citing a decision by the Higher Defense Council.
• The spokesperson also told L’Orient Today that the director general of the Beirut port, Omar Itani has informed the families that the fire at the port could be “caused by the fermentation of wheat that remains scattered in and around the silos.” However the spokesperson said that the families do not believe this explanation and are worried that evidence is being erased.
• Last month, MPs from the Kataeb party introduced a draft law in Parliament that would classify the silos as a national monument to commemorate the victims of the explosion, preventing their demolition.