Beirut port resumes partial operations a week after warehouse explosion

A week after the Beirut port warehouse explosion, partial operations to secure goods for local markets have resumed.

According to Lebanon’s caretaker economy minister, the port is now operating to unload vessels for merchants.

“There are 12 cranes out of 16 operating at Beirut port,” Raoul Nehme said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.

“The flour stocks of the mills in Lebanon are 32,000 tonnes, in addition to 110,000 tonnes that will arrive within two weeks,” Nehme said, adding that the amount was sufficient for four months.

The powerful explosion on August 4 shook the Lebanese capital after 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at the port caught fire.

The shock waves flattened nearby buildings and caused extensive damage in Beirut, killing at least 171 people, wounding some 6,000 others leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Dozens of people are still missing.

The explosions come amid rising political tension in Lebanon and the worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

On Saturday, angry, violent protests wounded 728 people and killed one police officer amid a heavy crackdown by security forces.

The protests forced the government to step down on Monday but they will remain in a caretaker position until a new cabinet is formed.

President Michel Aoun has promised a swift and transparent investigation into the blast and said the probe would look into whether it was negligence, an accident or external factors.

The explosion has caused losses of $15 billion, forcing the nation into deeper financial stress. United nations and many other countries have pledged financial aid to Lebanon.