Beirut's port partially opens, thousands remain homeless

The damaged port is seen Wednesday. Photo by Mustafa Jamaleddine/UPI
The damaged port is seen Wednesday. Photo by Mustafa Jamaleddine/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Beirut's port partially opened again Wednesday as officials and residents continued to recover from last week's devastating blasts that killed hundreds and left thousands homeless in Lebanon's capital city.

Economic Minister Raoul Nehme said on social media that 12 of the 16 cranes at the port are operating in an effort to give Beirut some economic life again.


"The flour stocks of the mills in Lebanon are 32,000 tons, in addition to 110,000 tons that will arrive within two weeks," said Nehme, which should be enough for four months.

Nehme is part of a caretaker government after Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his cabinet resigned when two blasts rocked the city Aug. 4. The current death toll from the explosions remained at 220 Wednesday with some 6,000 people injured and 300,000 homeless from the damage.

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Experts warned Wednesday of continued political tussles that could delay investigations after Lebanon's Higher Judicial Council rejected the caretaker justice minister's selection to lead the government's probe.

Meanwhile, a new CCTV video from St. George's University Medical Center in Beirut was released, showing people trying to escape moments before the major blasts, where blinding smoke immediately blankets the camera.


The video shows patients and medical staff running for cover as the explosion roars through doors and windows.

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Lebanon has had its share of turmoil, including 15 years of civil war that lasted until 1990, and Hezbollah's violent fighting is Israel in 2006. The country had been mired in a major economic crisis before the blast, with protesters demanding answers to the falling value of its currency.

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