Beirut, Lebanon: A major fire broke out in the port of Beirut on Thursday, AFP correspondents said, sparking alarm among Lebanese still recovering from the devastating port explosion that disfigured the capital last month.
Thick plumes of black smoke billowed into the sky when the army said the fire had engulfed a warehouse that stored oil and tires.
— Aya Majzoub (@Aya_Majzoub) September 10, 2020
It was not immediately clear what caused the fire. “Operations to put out the fire began and army helicopters will participate,” the army said in a Twitter statement.
Social media users posted video footage that raised alarm among Beirut residents who were recovering from the country’s deadliest peacetime disaster. “A crazy fire in the port, causing panic in Beirut. We cannot take a break,” Human Rights Watch researcher Aya Majzoub wrote on Twitter.
— CNW (@ConflictsW) September 10, 2020
The August 4 explosion of hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in the port killed more than 190 people, injured thousands and devastated much of the capital.
The blast sparked widespread outrage after it emerged that authorities were aware of the huge presence of the escort and led to the resignation of the government.
Human rights researcher Omar Nashabe tweeted: “Where do we live? This is the crime scene a month ago! Where is the judiciary? Where is the state? Where is responsibility?”
— Arab News (@arabnews) September 10, 2020
The port explosion has piled up new misery on Lebanese already battling the coronavirus pandemic and the country’s worst economic crisis in decades, which has doubled poverty rates to more than half the population.