LEBANON’S entire government has collapsed as officials have fallen on their swords over the colossal explosion that killed 160 people.
Lebanon’s health minister Hamad Hassan confirmed the government would resign following an emergency cabinet meeting on Monday amid allegations of corruption and negligence.
Hassan also added that Prime Minister Hassan Diab will head to the presidential palace to hand over the resignation in the name of all the ministers.
Speaking to reporters, Hassan said: “The whole government resigned”
The PM’s office said Diab is set to deliver an address to the nation at 7.30 pm local time – 5.30pm UK time.
Rage had been mounting as rioting swept the streets of Beirut following the blast last week that injured 6,000 and left at least 300,000 people homeless.
The horrific explosion was one fifth the size of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
It emerged that numerous officials – including Lebanese president Michael Aoun – knew about the stash of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in Beirut which caused the disaster.
Warnings had been issued years before as the killer cargo was seized from a ship owned by a Russian businessman who had gone bankrupt.
Several ministers had already stepped down amid murmurings that the government was on the brink of collapse.
The cabinet, formed in January with the backing of the powerful Iranian-backed Hezbollah group and its allies, met today after a slew of resignations.
Justice minister Marie-Claude Najms, information minister Manal Abdel-Samad, finance minister Ghazi Wazni, defence minister and deputy PM Zeina Akar, and environment minister Damianos Kattar all resigned in quick succession.
Kattar blasted the system as “flaccid and sterile”, while Abdel-Samad said the government had let the people down.