THE killer blast which devastated Beirut has sparked a starvation crisis in the city as the tragedy vaporised its already chronically low food reserves.

Lebanon's main grain silo was destroyed in the explosion leaving the nation with less than a month's reserves and leading to claims children could even starve to death.

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The tragedy came just a week after Save the Children reported half a million children were already going hungry in Beirut.

Rising number of families are struggling to survive due to the economic shockwaves of the crippling coronavirus lockdown.

Tuesday's explosion completely destroyed Lebanon's largest port – making it virtually impossible to import food and other aid by sea.

Lebanon imports up to 80 percent of its food needs and is particularly reliant on soft wheat from overseas to make flatbread.

About 85 per cent of the country's cereals were stored in now destroyed silos at the port, according to trading company Mena Commodities.

Even the wheat that survived the blast has been made inedible by the explosion – believed to have been caused by sacks of fertiliser chemicals.

Save the Children says in the Greater Beirut area almost one million people do not have money to buy essentials, including sufficient food.

This number included more than half a million children, it said.

"We will start seeing children dying from hunger before the end of the year," said Jad Sakr, acting Country Director of the charity in Lebanon.

Lebanon is currentlygoing through a chronic economic crisis which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Since September, prices for basic items such as food and shelter have soared by 169 per cent while unemployment has risen up to 45 percent.

A recent World Food Program-survey showed revealed one in five Lebanese families skipped meals or went without food for a whole day.

After the blast, Mr Sakr said: "The incident could not have occurred at a worse time and has hit communities who were already suffering from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis."

"Beirut's main port, now completely damaged, is vital for much of the food, grains, and fuel that Lebanon imports, and families will immediately feel the shortage in basic needs as a result of this tragedy."

Lebanon's economy minister Raoul Nehme told Reuters his country was okay for now.

"There is no bread or flour crisis," the minister said.

"We have enough inventory and boats on their way to cover the needs of Lebanon on the long term."

He said grain reserves in Lebanon's remaining silos stood at "a bit less than a month" but said the destroyed silos had only held 15,000 tonnes of the grain at the time.

Beirut's port district was a mangled wreck, disabling the main entry point for imports to feed a nation of more than six million people.

Ahmed Tamer, the director of Tripoli port, Lebanon's second biggest facility, said his port did not have grain storage but cargoes could be taken to warehouses about one mile away.

Alongside Tripoli, the ports of Saida, Selaata and Jiyeh were also equipped to handle grain, the economy minister said.

"We fear there will be a huge supply chain problem, unless there is an international consensus to save us," said Hani Bohsali, head of the importers' syndicate.

U.N. agencies are meeting on Wednesday to coordinate relief efforts for Beirut, Tamara al-Rifai, a spokeswoman for the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, told Reuters from Amman.

"People are extremely poor, it's increasingly difficult for anyone to buy food and the fact that Beirut is the largest port in Lebanon makes it a very bad situation," she said.

"We are looking at Tripoli, but it is a much smaller port."

Lebanon is trying to transfer immediately four vessels carrying 25,000 tonnes of flour to the port in Tripoli, one official told LBCI news channel.

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