Disasters & Accidents

One year after the Beirut blast, there is still much to rebuild

Beirut, Aug 3 (EFE).- Almost a year after the Beirut explosion, most of the structurally damaged buildings still need reconstruction, as does part of the public infrastructure which threatens a solid waste crisis.

The Beirut port blast, which occurred on August 4, left over 200 killed, 6,500 injured and 300,000 homeless, and according to the United Nations some 9,700 buildings were either destroyed or damaged.

Nearly all the buildings that suffered minor damages, such as broken windows or doors have been repaired, according to the latest report by the Humanitarian Refugee Sector, led by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme

The buildings that sustained such damage are located within a five-km radius from ground zero, told Efe Elie Mansour, Head of the Urban Planning and Design Unit at UN-Habitat Lebanon as he reviewed February’s report.

Between 60 and 70 percent of the rebuilding operations of 1,172 edifices, which are located within 2 km from the port and suffered “moderate” damage, have been completed.

Repairing the structurally damaged buildings, however, has been “so slow” as only 10 percent of the 1,093 edifices that have sustained severe damages have been rebuilt, Mansour said citing the report.

In terms of public infrastructure, the explosion caused minor damages to the water system, but it was not the case for the sewage system.

“It went into the ground and popped out all these manholes so you can imagine what happened to the pipes,” he said.

 “Since then no one did any survey, any assessment. No one opened the manholes to see what happened into the network,” he added.

He is particularly concerned over the rehabilitation of two waste sorting and recycling points that “take half of Beirut solid waste”.

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