Lebanon’s government resigns as anger grows over Beirut port explosion

Lebanon’s government has resigned amid immense public anger and pressure after the massive blast that struck Beirut port on Tuesday last week.

The announcement was made in a national TV address by Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Monday evening.

Many people have accused the country’s leaders of culpability through their alleged negligence and corruption.

The  port warehouse explosion of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate killed at least 220 people, injured over 6,000 and left a trail of war like destruction. Nearly 300,000 were made homeless.

The cabinet formed in January with the backing of Iranian-backed Hezbollah group and its allies.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab said on Saturday he would request early parliamentary elections.

Lebanon’s president had previously said explosive material was stored unsafely for years at the port. He later said the investigation would consider whether the cause was external interference as well as negligence or an accident.

Beirut’s governor said many foreign workers and truck drivers remained missing and were assumed to be among the casualties, complicating identification of the victims.

Large scale anti-government protests have taken stage once again. Lebanon is facing its worst economic crisis. Protesters blamed corruption, waste and mismanagement of wealth as reasons.

An emergency fund of US$ 298 million was released for immediate humanitarian relief. For more funds, foreign countries have demanded  transparency over how the aid would be used and large scale reforms.