A large section of Beirut’s giant port silos, destroyed by a massive explosion two years ago, collapsed as hundreds marched through the city to mark the second anniversary of the explosion that killed nearly 220 people.
The northern block of silos consisting of four towers slowly tilted for days and collapsed, causing a huge cloud of dust to cover the structure shielding Beirut’s western neighborhoods when the explosion occurred on August 4, 2020.
The blast also injured more than 6,000 people and caused billions of dollars in damage.
The collapse of about a quarter of the structure on Thursday came an hour before hundreds of people gathered outside the facility to mark the second anniversary of the explosion.
Authorities evacuated parts of the port earlier this week – after an initial section of silos collapsed on Sunday – as a precaution, and there were no reports of injuries.
The 50-year-old, 157-foot-tall silos had withstood the force of the explosion two years ago that destroyed much of the port.
Many in Lebanon, including the families of the victims, are demanding that the silos be kept for future generations to witness the aftermath of one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, caused by widespread corruption and mismanagement in the small Mediterranean nation.
The internal investigation into the blast has been stalled since December after legal challenges by defendants and accused officials against the judge leading the probe.
Hundreds of people, including families of the victims, marched from three locations in Beirut to the main road outside the port to mark the blast on Thursday. Some carried white coffins while others carried gallows demanding punishment for those responsible.
“Two years later the pain is still the same,” said one of the family members whose brother was killed.