BEIRUT — Another section within the northern block of the Beirut port grain silos is likely collapse “at any time” in the next hours, French civil engineer Emmanuel Durand told L’Orient Today on Wednesday. He added that the section now expected to fall would have a significantly greater magnitude than the one that collapsed Sunday, “because it will involve a minimum of four and up to 10 silos in just one go.”
Here’s what we know:
• Durand, a French civil engineer who volunteered for a government-commissioned team of experts, said that the inclination rates (tilt rates) measured over the last 12 hours are 12 millimeters per hour from the silos’ west side and 13 millimeters per hour from the silos’ east side, the crater side. The observations indicate that the danger of collapse “has never been so high.” Previously reported tilt rates were around six millimeters per hour.
• The yellow block in the above diagram, which consists of the remains of four silos that were built together, is now tilting more than the pink block, made up of the remains of eight silos that were built together. Durand added that one of the silos, within the pink block, that is at risk of collapsing is still "full of grain.”
• Durand has been observing and measuring the silos “minute after minute” using tilt sensors of Swiss/Italian technology that provide live information about the silos’ condition and tilt measurements. The sensors send one signal per minute.
• A spokesperson for the Lebanese Army told L’Orient Today that they evacuated Beirut port workers from a 500-meter radius days ago. Traffic authorities said in a Tweet Wednesday afternoon that they had taken “measures” to close the road next to the silos.