Middle East

Lebanon has less than a month’s grain reserves after Beirut blast

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Lebanon's main grain silo at Beirut port was destroyed in a blast, leaving the nation with less than a month's reserves of the grain but still with enough flour to avoid a crisis, the economy minister said on Wednesday.

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Raoul Nehme told Reuters a day after Tuesday's devastating explosion that Lebanon needed reserves for at least three months to ensure food security and was looking at other storage areas.

The explosion was the most powerful to rip through Beirut, a city torn apart by civil war three decades ago. The economy was already in meltdown before the blast, slowing grain imports as the nation struggled to find hard currency for purchases.

"There is no bread or flour crisis," the minister said. "We have enough inventory and boats on their way to cover the needs of Lebanon on the long term.”

He said grain reserves in Lebanon's remaining silos stood at "a bit less than a month" but said the destroyed silos had only held 15,000 tonnes of the grain at the time, much less than capacity which one official put at 120,000 tonnes.

Beirut's port district was a mangled wreck, disabling the main entry point for imports to feed a nation of more than 6 million people.

Ahmed Tamer, the director of Tripoli port, Lebanon's second biggest facility, said his port did not have grain storage but cargoes could be taken to warehouses 2 km (about one mile) away.

"I want to reassure all Lebanese that we can receive the vessels," he said.

Alongside Tripoli, the ports of Saida, SelaataRead More – Source