Beirut fire: Port ablaze again, weeks after massive blast – Lebanese Army


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Residents still reeling from that devastating explosion were told by Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud to stay clear of the port area “for their safety” and to allow firefighters to perform their duties unhindered, state news agency NNA reported.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear, but the Lebanese army said in a statement that it began at a warehouse where oil and tires are kept in the port’s duty-free market.

Videos taken at the scene showed a warehouse engulfed in flames and a large plume of black smoke rising into the sky. Many Beirut residents sharing clips on social media expressed their dismay that yet another disaster was unfolding and that the scenes were all too familiar.

Efforts are underway to extinguish the fire, with helicopters dousing the flames.

Beirut’s port — Lebanon’s main lifeline with the outside world — was obliterated in last month’s blast, and the city is still picking up the pieces.

The explosion of nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate tore through the capital on August 4, killing 190 people, injuring more than 6,000, and leaving more than 300,000 displaced from their homes. It destroyed much of Beirut’s eastern coastal area.

Just last week, rescuers were searching to find a survivor under a mountain of rubble. After an emotionally charged three days, the search was called off, extinguishing hopes of locating a missing person.
The August 4 explosion has further eroded public trust in state officials and renewed protests over corruption, prompting Lebanon’s government to step down and spurring calls for President Michel Aoun to resign.

Lebanon had already been struggling economically in the months before the blast, with its currency losing approximately 70% of its value since last October and the World Bank forecasting that half of its population would become poor in 2020.

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