French and Lebanese soldiers cleared the site of the massive explosion at the port of Beirut with steel and cement equivalent to the weight of the Eiffel Tower, a French officer said on Wednesday (August 26th).
Efforts have recently been focused on clearing the parts of the port worst affected by the massive explosion that devastated entire neighborhoods of Beirut on August 4, killing more than 180 people.
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"It took me four days to clear 8,000 tonnes of cement and steel," said Lieutenant Paulin, a French officer coordinating the clearing operations at the port.
"8,000 tonnes since we arrived here five days ago is the equivalent of the weight of the Eiffel Tower," added the officer of the 19th Engineer Regiment.
After the explosion, a crater 43 meters deep
The Tonnerre, a huge helicopter carrier of the French army, arrived in Beirut ten days after the explosion, with tons of humanitarian aid on board, as well as dozens of specialized clearing machines.
The blast, one of the biggest in recent history, wiped out entire areas of the port, left a 43-meter-deep crater now covered by the sea, and left more than 6,500 injured for miles away. round.
Colonel Youssef Haïdar, of the Lebanese army, said the port, through which about 90% of Lebanon's imports passed, was now operating at half its capacity.
"Last week, it was at 30%, today we are talking about 45%", he announced during a press conference held at the port.
Port activity is slowly resuming
Three weeks after the explosion, for which the Lebanese authorities are blamed by the population because of their negligence, the port remains a pile of destroyed cars, shattered containers and collapsed warehouses. According to the authorities, the tragedy was caused by the presence of a huge amount of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse.
French and Lebanese soldiers are working to extract and set aside boxes of goods so that traders and insurance companies can get to the port in the coming days and assess the losses.
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