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Lebanese military finds 4.35 tons of ammonium nitrate stored near Beirut’s port

PHOTO CREDITS: THE STAR

According to the Times of Israel Thursday, the Lebanese military found 4.35 tons more of ammonium nitrate in four containers stored near Beirut’s port after customs officials were called in for a container inspection at a facility near the port. There were no details on the origin of the chemicals or their owner. The military said the army experts were “dealing with the material,” an apparent reference to it being destroyed. ~

This has come a month after thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate were thought to be the  source of the massive explosion seen in Beirut on August 4, causing widespread devastation. The material had been stored at the port since 2013 with few safeguards despite numerous warnings of the danger. According to Al Jazeera, the explosion killed 191 people and injured more than 6,000. 300,000 people were left homeless as the blast caused billions of dollars worth of damage. ~

The explosion also came as Lebanon was dealing with hyperinflation and the COVID-19 pandemic. The combination of catastrophes resulted in widespread anger against Lebanon’s government, causing notable governmental figures, such as the Prime Minister Hassan Diab, to resign. Days after the August blast, French and Italian chemical experts working amid the remains of the port identified more than 20 containers carrying dangerous chemicals. So far, authorities have detained 25 people over last month’s explosion, most of them port and customs officials. ~

Earlier this week, a UN agency warned that more than half of Lebanon’s population risks facing a food crisis in the aftermath of the explosion that compounded the country’s existing woes. “More than half of the country’s population is at risk of failing to access their basic food needs by the year’s end,” the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) said. “Immediate measures should be taken to prevent a food crisis,” ESCWA executive secretary, Rola Dashti, claimed. Dashti said Lebanon’s government should prioritize rebuilding food storage, such as silos at the Beirut port, the country’s largest grain storage. ~

EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

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