World Monuments Fund Calls for an Inclusive Process on the Preservation of the Beirut Silos
The explosion that tore through Beirut on August 4, 2020, took the lives of 233 people and injured more than 6000 others. The explosion impacted an estimated 8,000 buildings, including libraries, museums, and around 640 historic structures, according to UNESCO, some of which remain still today at risk of collapse.
The city’s grain silos, which are adjacent to the warehouse where the explosion originated, are among the historic structures affected by the explosion. The 1960s concrete silos were significantly damaged and have remained in delicate physical condition ever since.
These twentieth-century structures have played a critical economic and social role in the city for the last 52 years. And since the explosion in August 2020, they have also become a symbol of resiliency for the local community and an embodiment of its collective memory, connecting people and memory with place. The silos have become an informal civic monument where, on the fourth of each month, the families of the victims gather to remember and mourn their loved ones.
The news from last Sunday, July 31, of the partial collapse of the silos only adds to the pain of the families and local community of Beirut who have already endured a terrible ordeal in recent years. Their once-thriving city continues to lose the physical markers of its recent history.
World Monuments Fund (WMF) calls for local authorities, relevant stakeholders, heritage professionals, and the larger local community of Beirut to reevaluate the demolition of the silos complex. WMF believes that any intervention at the silos must be guided from the start by input from the full range of stakeholders. Through public consultations and by incorporating environmental considerations and ecosystem preservation, as well as heritage considerations, the future of the Beirut silos must be decided collectively.
WMF joins local efforts from the solidarity campaign in the hope that an inclusive and feasible solution can be reached.
To learn more about local efforts to preserve the Beirut silos, click on the following links: