Three years after Beirut port blast

Three years after Beirut’s tragic port explosion, attempts to prosecute those responsible have failed, and more and more Lebanese are losing faith in their state institutions.

The blast killed at least 218 people, according to various reports, wounded more than 6,000, devastated large parts of Beirut and caused billions of dollars in damages.

The massive explosion anniversary sparked renewed calls for an international investigation to determine the identity of those responsible and have them brought to justice, including top officials who allowed hundreds of tons of highly flammable ammonium nitrate, a material used in fertilizers, to be improperly stored for years at a warehouse in the port.

Lebanese and international organizations, survivors and families of victims sent an appeal to the U.N. Rights Council, saying that on the third anniversary of the explosion, “we are no closer to justice and accountability for the catastrophe.”

Hundreds of people marched in the Lebanese capital to mark the third anniversary, with some family members of the victims calling on the international community to help in the investigation.

Carrying roses and photos of their loved ones, the families led the march and gathered outside Beirut’s port. Victims’ names were read, and a moment of silence was held at 6:07 p.m. — the time when the blast occurred.

The chemicals that caused the tragic explosion had been shipped to Lebanon in 2013. Senior political and security officials knew of their presence and potential danger but did nothing.