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BEIRUT PORT

Environment minister assures action ongoing on silo fire, debris treatment after MP denounces 'lack of plan'

Nasser Yassin says he is "open to constructive cooperation" after criticism from Najat Saliba.  

Environment minister assures action ongoing on silo fire, debris treatment after MP denounces 'lack of plan'

Civil Defense firefighters deployed at the port of Beirut on August 23, 2022, to cool down wheat silos, which were plagued by repeated fires. Credit: BEIRUT MUNICIPALITY / AFP

BEIRUT — The caretaker Environment Minister Nasser Yassin reaffirmed Saturday that the cooling operations of the silos at the Port of Beirut, which have repeatedly caught fire and northern part of has completely collapsed, as well as the removal of rubble from the site began "nine days ago," after the MP Najat Saliba deplored the "lack of plan" to fight the fire in the structure.

In an afternoon tweet, Saliba lamented that "foul odors have been emanating in Beirut for the past three days due to the fires in the silos."

"We are still waiting for a plan to solve this problem," she added, calling what is happening "an unacceptable crime."

Yassin immediately responded: "We have been working for nine days without interruption, to reach the stored wheat grains, by cooling the land and clearing the rubble, that will be treated under the supervision of experts and scientists."

"The plan has been published and is being implemented," he insisted, recalling that "the work was started the day after the collapse of the northern block of the silos." He finally called on Saliba to consult the ministry's plan, assuring that he was "open to constructive cooperation."

Earlier in the day, firefighters from the Karantina fire station had indicated that the cooling operations and removal of rubble, which began on Aug. 29, were still underway. This is the second stage of the plan developed by the Environment Ministry, after the Civil Defense extinguished the fire, they explained. The firefighters said that the third and final stage will be to completely extinguish the fire.

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Yassin said at the launch of his plan, that the "large [pieces of] rubble will subsequently be moved to an area away from the silos to be treated in an environmentally friendly way before being destroyed.

"Once the rubble is cleared, the wheat grains will be sprayed with products against the spread of fungi [detected in the air following the collapse of the silos] and then treated safely," Yassin promised. Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati decided to preserve the southern block of silos and to classify it as a historical monument, thus modifying a previous decision of his government which advocated the destruction of the entire structure.


BEIRUT — The caretaker Environment Minister Nasser Yassin reaffirmed Saturday that the cooling operations of the silos at the Port of Beirut, which have repeatedly caught fire and northern part of has completely collapsed, as well as the removal of rubble from the site began "nine days ago," after the MP Najat Saliba deplored the "lack of plan" to fight the fire in the structure.In an...