BEIRUT, LEBANON — The World Food Programme will supply 50,000 tonnes of wheat flour to Beirut, which is suffering following an explosion last week that killed 160 people and damaged Beirut Port.
The delivery will help stabilize the national supply and ensure there is no food shortage in the country, according to a report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Current wheat flour reserves are estimated to cover market needs for six weeks. An initial shipment of 17,500 tonnes is due to arrive in Beirut in the next 10 days and will supply bakeries for one month, the report said.
The explosion at the port destroyed 120,000 tonnes of food stocks, including wheat, soy and other staples. Grain silos at the port were heavily damaged. About 85% of the cereals in Lebanon were previously stored at the port.
The port is expected to be inoperable for at least a month, the report said, and a temporary bulk receiving facility is needed for grain imports to ensure adequate national stocks.
“Augmentation of the Beirut Port facilities is essential to avoid interruptions and disruptions in food supply lines,” the report said.
The container terminal was only partially affected by the blasts, and the facility resumed offloading ships on Aug. 8.
Three cargo flights have arrived with logistics equipment to help the port become operational, including mobile storage units and other equipment as a temporary solution for the destroyed grain silos.
Most humanitarian materials will be redirected through the Tripoli Port, which is 80 km (approximately 50 miles) north.
“The change may have adverse consequences for some supply chains, as Tripoli Port has approximately a third the capacity of Beirut Port,” the report said. “Rerouted vessels may congest the port.”