In a significant development, Lebanon’s army said it has found 4.35 tonnes of ammonium nitrate near the entrance to Beirut port.
The development comes in the wake of a catastrophic explosion on August 4, which flattened the neighborhood, gutting buildings, created a massive crater, killed nearly 190 people and injured 6000; it was caused by a large stockpile of highly explosive chemical. According to authorities, the explosion was caused by around 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate which had been stacked in unsafe conditions in a port warehouse for years.
According to a statement from Lebanon’s army, Army engineers were “dealing with it,”. The highly explosive chemicals were found outside entrance 9 of the port.
Following the blast, the Lebanon’s government quit midst an outburst of public anger in a nation which is already immersed in deep economic crisis.
Public concerns that more hazardous materials could be stored in unsafe conditions, putting them once again at risk, was proven right.
Earlier on Thursday, President Michel Aoun ordered repairs to the refueling infrastructure at Beirut airport; he also called for an investigation into a report that thousands of liters of fuel had leaked from the system.
At a news conference, Fadi el-Hassan, the head of Beirut airport stated, the leak of 84,000 litres of fuel had occurred in March 2019 and that repairs were completed in two months. International investigators had described those repairs as “satisfactory”.
News of the leak added to public safety concerns.
“No explosion is awaiting us,” said Hassan at a news conference.