Beirut, Lebanon (CNN)Rescue teams in Beirut are digging deeper into rubble Friday where signs of life were detected 30 days after a massive explosion destroyed much of the city.
Search teams swarmed to the Mar Mikhael area, a neighborhood near the epicenter of last month’s blast, on Thursday after rescue teams detected movement deep within debris, according to Lebanon state-run NNA news.Video from the scene showed rescuers working under floodlights to remove portions of a wall with a crane as a crowd stood by, waiting for updates.The search was sparked by a rescue dog that passed the destroyed building with a Chilean rescue team on Thursday and indicated signs of life, said Eddy Bita, a local non-governmental organization worker. Thermal imaging later showed two bodies — one small body curled up next to a larger body. A listening device also registered a respiratory cycle of 18 per minute, Bitar said. Read More”There’s a small chance that the person is still alive,” Bitar said. Rescue teams are digging tunnels through thick concrete debris to reach the site of the potential survivor. Francisco Lermanda, a worker with Chilean search and rescue NGO Topos Chile, was cautious about the prospect of finding someone alive after so many days beneath the rubble. But he didn’t rule it out.One person survived 28 days under rubble in Haiti, he added.Thursday’s search was temporarily suspended over concerns that a wall could collapse and endanger the lives of the rescue team, Beirut fire brigade officer Lieutenant Michel El-Mur said. A crowd that had gathered at the site were upset with the decision to call off the search. A few people climbed on top of the rubble, attempting to continue searching themselves.One woman was heard saying: “We have been here for a month, can’t you stay up for one night?” Others told the rescuers that they didn’t “want the truth” and that they would take matters into their own hands.Rescue workers clear rubble from a destroyed building with the aim of finding a potential survivor on September 4, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. The explosion tore through Beirut’s port on August 4, killing 190 people, injuring more than 6,000, and leaving more than 300,000 displaced from their homes. It was linked to nearly 3,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate which had been stored at Beirut’s port for six years. Ammonium nitrate is a highly volatile material used in agricultural fertilizers and explosives.After the explosion, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab said it was “unacceptable” that the shipment of ammonium nitrate had been stored in a warehouse on Beirut’s port for six years. But documents suggest that multiple government agencies in Lebanon were informed about the presence of the ammonium nitrate — including the Ministry of Justice.Rescue workers return to search a destroyed building with the aim of finding a potential survivor in the aftermath of the Beirut blast on September 4, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon.The explosion sparked fury in Lebanon, where the government has been plagued by accusations of corruption and gross mismanagement, and plunged the country even further into economic turmoil.Following the blasts, Beirut was rocked by violent protests for days, with demonstrators calling for “revenge” against the ruling class of politicians widely held responsible. Protesters occupied several government ministries and threw stones and shards of glass at security forces. Police fired hundreds of rounds of tear gas as well rubber bullets and, in some cases, live fire.Less than a week after the blast, Lebanon’s government stepped down, with Diab calling the blast a “disaster beyond measure.” He berated Lebanon’s ruling political elite for fostering what he called “an apparatus of corruption bigger than the state.” Lebanese President Michel Aoun has said it would be “impossible” for him to resign because it would lead to a power vacuum. At the end of last month, Lebanon’s leaders designated the country’s ambassador to Germany, Mustapha Adib, as the new premier.”There is no time for talk, promises and wishes. It is a time for action,” Adib said in a short acceptance speech.