In the bar district of Beirut, hundreds of Lebanese have traded their beer for brooms, organizing in solidarity without waiting for the state, to clean up the debris of Tuesday’s terrible explosion.
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“If we had a real state, it would be on the streets since yesterday cleaning up. Where are they ? Protests Melissa Fadlallah, a volunteer mobilized in the Mar Mikhaël district, famous for its bars and restaurants, located a few steps from the port of the capital of Lebanon.
Volunteers and citizens took to the streets of Beirut to begin cleaning up the rubble.
In this sector of old traditional buildings, the facades and shop windows were shattered Tuesday after two huge explosions, according to the authorities, by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, stored “without precaution” in a shed.
In the aftermath of the tragedy which left more than 130 dead and 5,000 injured, the Lebanese did not wait. They launched the rubble-clearing and clearing operations themselves.
In front of half-collapsed buildings, dozens of young volunteers yesterday picked up the pieces of glass, pulling large plastic bags filled with debris.
At least 16 officials from the Port of Beirut and customs authorities have been detained, a military prosecutor said, without providing their identity.
They are “persons in charge of the board of directors of the port of Beirut and of the customs administration, and persons in charge of maintenance work and workers who carried out work in the hangar”, where the tons of waste were stored. ammonium nitrate.
According to Lebanese authorities, the warehouse exploded after a fire.
The port authorities, customs and some security services were all aware that hazardous chemicals were present there, but they blamed each other.
Furious after one too many disaster in the sinking country, the Lebanese and the international community are demanding accountability.
French President Emmanuel Macron, visiting Beirut yesterday, and the International Monetary Fund have among other things called for “crucial reforms” on the part of the Lebanese leaders, accused of incompetence and corruption by the population.
– With Anne-Sophie Poiré
♦ Yesterday, the Quebec government announced emergency humanitarian aid of one million dollars (M $). In addition to an amount of $ 1.5 million donated to the Lebanese Red Cross, Ottawa is considering the possibility of providing food aid.