Blast destroyed Lebanon’s solely giant grain silo


The dearth of state reserves is compounded by the shortage of a devoted grain terminal and silo in Tripoli port, the place vessels at the moment are being diverted, and illustrates a hand-to-mouth strategy to meals safety.

It mirrors how the state has resorted to emergency plans fairly than long-term options in different key areas, resembling its infamously flawed energy sector and messy rubbish assortment, shifting from one fast repair to a different for the reason that finish of the 1975-1990 civil battle.

“It’s dangerous in fact,” Hesham Hassanein, a Cairo-based regional grain marketing consultant stated, explaining that the wheat held within the Beirut silo belonged to the non-public millers and to not the federal government.

“This was the stock within the nation, not a authorities strategic reserve in that sense, and it was normally sufficient for two-and-a-half to a few months of consumption.”

Nehme has stated that solely 15,000 tonnes have been saved on the silo when the explosion hit and that Lebanon wanted a list of round three months’ provide at any time for meals safety functions.

With a consumption charge of round 35,000 to 40,000 tonnes a month, that interprets into over 100,000 tonnes. Lebanon imports 90% to 95% of its wheat, principally from the Black Sea area.

The majority of its native wheat manufacturing is durum, a kind of wheat extra appropriate for pasta.

The nation’s non-public millers, round eight in complete, will now must navigate new logistics quick for the availability chain to run easily, even after a few of them suffered harm from the blast.

This implies trucking the grain to warehouses close to Tripoli port at a time when a lot of the site visitors meant for Beirut, not simply wheat, can even be diverted there.

In a single day rescue operations centred across the Beirut grain silo, which towers over the capital’s skyline, into the early hours of Thursday. Rescuers are nonetheless digging underneath the piles of twisted metallic and rubble of the silo seeking survivors. Tonnes of grain, wheat and corn, had spilled out.

Even earlier than the blast, a foreign money crash and hovering costs had already left many poor, elevating fears of widespread starvation.

“WFP is anxious that the explosion and the harm to the port will exacerbate an already grim meals safety state of affairs – that has worsened due to the nation’s profound monetary disaster and the COVID-19 pandemic,” a spokeswoman stated on Thursday in notes ready for a U.N. briefing in Geneva, including it will be offering meals parcels to hundreds of households.


With harm on the Beirut port underneath evaluation, most site visitors is being diverted to Tripoli which already receives round 2 million tonnes of products a yr, its director Ahmed Tamer instructed Reuters. Its complete capability is 5 million tonnes. “For grain, we will obtain a most capability of round 200-250,000 tonnes.

There must be a logistics plan …profitable provide chain administration,” Tamer stated.

The grain obtained at that port must be trucked round 2 km for storage at close by mills, with no silo on the port. Logistics might have been less complicated had plans for a silo at Lebanon’s second largest port materialised a number of years earlier.

The plans for the development of a grain silo of round 150,000-tonne capability at Tripoli, a part of a wider growth challenge that was underway for the entire port, have been shelved on an absence of funding, Tamer stated.

The plans from three years in the past included a whole logistics space serving the silo. “We did all of the maps vital and ready all of the research … there was not sufficient funding,” Tamer stated, including the transport ministry was now re-visiting the challenge. “If we will do that as a fast-track challenge it may very well be constructed as shortly as doable and provides Lebanon strategic meals safety.”