Kuwait to rebuild Lebanon’s only large grain silo after blast

Kuwait to rebuild Lebanon’s only large grain silo after blast
Severely damaged grain silo following the explosion in Beirut’s port area. (File/AFP)
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Updated 23 August 2020

Kuwait to rebuild Lebanon’s only large grain silo after blast

Kuwait to rebuild Lebanon’s only large grain silo after blast
  • The destruction of the 120,000-ton capacity structure at the port meant buyers must rely on smaller private storage facilities for their wheat purchases
  • Kuwait’s ambassador to Lebanon said in comments to local radio VdL at the weekend that the silo was first built in 1969 with a Kuwaiti development loan

BEIRUT: Kuwait said it will rebuild Lebanon’s only large grain silo that was destroyed by the massive Beirut port explosion, raising fears of food shortages in a country already in financial meltdown.
The destruction of the 120,000-ton capacity structure at the port, the main entry point for food imports, meant buyers must rely on smaller private storage facilities for their wheat purchases with no government reserves to fall back on.
Kuwait’s ambassador to Lebanon, Abdulaal Al-Qenaie, said in comments to local radio VdL at the weekend that the silo was first built in 1969 with a Kuwaiti development loan.
The Gulf monarchy will now rebuild the silo so it remains a symbol of “how to manage relations between two brotherly countries that respect each other,” Qenaie was cited as saying.
The port explosion killed at least 180 people, injured thousands and wrecked swathes of the Lebanese capital, pushing the government to resign.
The now caretaker economy minister, Raoul Nehme, has reassured the public that there would be no flour or bread crisis in Lebanon, which buys almost all its wheat from abroad.
Plans for another grain silo in Lebanon’s second largest port Tripoli were shelved years ago due to a lack of funding, a UN official, port official and regional grain expert told Reuters earlier this month.
Humanitarian aid has poured into Lebanon. But foreign donors have made clear they will not bail out the state without reforms to tackle entrenched corruption and negligence.
Gulf Arab states who once gave Lebanon financial support have grown weary in recent years of the Iran-backed Hezbollah’s expanding role in state affairs.


Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Updated 2 min 1 sec ago

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister
  • The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics: minister

CAIRO: Egypt’s 14-fold population increase between 1882 and 2017 had created a “national problem” that required urgent attention, a government minister has said.

Deputy Minister of Health and Population Tarek Tawfik revealed that over the 135-year period the number of people living in the country had shot up from 6.7 million to 94.8 million.

The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics, he added.

“(The population increase) is a national problem that needs to be solved through the collaboration of efforts between all the ministries, governmental, and non-governmental institutions, and the civil society,” Tawfik said.

He pointed out that the Egyptian National Population Council was currently drafting public policy documentation in collaboration with The American University in Cairo (AUC) aimed at resolving some of the country’s population-related issues.

Plans in the pipeline included awareness campaigns on family sizes, food and water security, and sustainability.

The council’s former rapporteur, Dr. Amr Hassan, said that a family planning project due to be launched early next year, would help to cut the birth rate in Egypt by 1 million.

Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Leslie Reed, AUC President Francis Joseph Ricciardone, and Tawfik recently launched the Strengthening Egypt’s Family Planning Program (SEFPP) youth competition, part of a $31 million initiative previously signed with the USAID to improve population health results.

Al-Mashat said that improving general healthcare, reproductive health, and family planning services were key to achieving economic empowerment for men and women.

She pointed out that the SEFPP youth competition was aimed at paving the way for the implementation of new and effective solutions to the issues and involved the Egyptian government, educational institutions and universities, youth, and civil society organizations represented by the USAID.

The program was designed to tackle the over-population problem through innovative techniques, developing youth ideas on family planning schemes, and raising awareness throughout the country.