Multiple containers of dangerous chemicals have been removed from Beirut’s port and are ready to be shipped out of the country by a German firm, six months after the catastrophic explosion that ravaged the city.
According to the German Ambassador to Lebanon, Andreas Kindl, the German company Combi Lift completed the treatment of “52 containers of hazardous and dangerous chemical material” accumulated for decades in the port and posing “a threat to the people in Beirut.”
The director of the German company was quoted saying “we have to say it as it is: what we found here was a second Beirut bomb.”
Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Lebanon Correspondent, Timour Azhari, calculated the total amount pf hazardous, explosive materials at the Beirut Port that we know of at almost 4,000 tons.
Ambassador Kindl, who informed the public in a tweet, added that the German embassy has also donated more than 2 million euros to the Lebanese army for the rehabilitation of the naval base that was destroyed by the Beirut explosion on August 4th.
However, according to the German Ambassador, much remains to be done in the port, as destroyed ships, offices, quayside, and contaminated soil remained present.
The Lebanese army and port authority have previously justified their inaction by saying that they do not have the expertise to handle such a process.
Months after a deadly explosion in Beirut’s port took the lives of 204 civilians and destroyed large parts of the capital, Lebanon signed a deal with Combi Lift, which was already helping at the port, to clear these containers of dangerous materials.
Officials said back then that the containers, which include corrosive acids, had been neglected in an outdoor cargo zone for over a decade under the supervision (or lack thereof) of Lebanon’s customs authority.
Back in November, interim port chief Bassem al-Kaisi had warned that, if they catch fire, “Beirut will be wiped out.”
These dangerous substances are now ready to be shipped out, reportedly costing the port authority $2 million out of the $3.6 million deal made by the state with Combi Lift.