Published: Tue, August 11, 2020

Lebanese government quits amid fury over Beirut blast

Lebanese government quits amid fury over Beirut blast

The Lebanese people accused ruling political class of negligence and recklessness by storing a big volume of ammonium nitrate at Port of Beirut which may have caused the huge explosions.

Diab was appointed last January, and was to be prime minister of a technical government, capable of putting the country's economy back on its feet and restoring confidence in the government in the face of popular anger over corruption, ineptitude and private interests of the political class. The country's top officials are investigating the matter.

His spokesperson said the United Nations stands ready to assist with an investigation, should the Lebanese authorities request it.

On Monday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun accepted the government's resignation and asked outgoing Prime Minister Hassan Diab to act as a caretaker premier.

Just over two weeks after the President and Prime Minister were informed of that danger, the chemicals exploded in a catastrophic blast that destroyed the immediate area and damaged buildings across the city, killing over 160 people and injuring more than 6,000 others.

The experts are working with Lebanese firefighters to secure all of the containers and analyze their contents, he said.

At the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump said the explosion had triggered what he called "a revolution", but did not comment further. He justified Diab's actions by stating that, "The current cabinet received the file 14 days prior to the explosion and acted on it in a matter of days. Previous administrations had over six years and did nothing".

Diab announced his resignation on Monday, almost a week after a devastating explosion ripped through Beirut, killing more than 160 people, wounding 6,000, and reducing large swathes of the Lebanese capital to rubble.

"It is important that a credible and transparent investigation determine the cause of the explosion and bring about the accountability demanded by the Lebanese people", Guterres told a humanitarian briefing on Lebanon.

The rebuilding of Beirut alone is expected to cost up to $15bn, in a country already effectively bankrupt with total banking system losses exceeding $100bn.

"[The Council] said it is risky", explained Aoun. I don't know where it was put and I didn't know how risky it was. "There is a hierarchy and all those who knew should have known their duties to do the necessary", Aoun said. Residents are asking how this compound used primarily as a fertiliser, was left unsecured at the warehouse for so long. The victims include many foreign workers and truck drivers operating in the port.

"But until now, no decision has been issued over this matter", the General Directorate of State Security report said.

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