Graphic shows blast damage to Beirut’s port area.


Aftermath of Beirut’s catastrophic blast

By Duncan Mil

August 6, 2020 - The catastrophic explosion in Beirut’s port area will intensify already potent widespread anger at the Lebanese government as the country faces its most severe economic crisis.

The damage to Lebanon’s most crucial port will exacerbate the country’s existing food and supply shortages. Sixty per cent of Lebanese imports come through the port.

The blast destroyed the section of the port that dealt with bulk goods, including food. The grain silos that were destroyed by the explosion contained 85 per cent of the country’s cereal imports. Lebanon now has grain reserves sufficient for four to six weeks.

The catastrophe will exacerbate already worsening poverty levels by leaving up to 300,000 people homeless. Shortages of foreign exchange, fuel and food have caused prices to surge. Inflation in June stood at 90 per cent overall, and for food alone, it was 250 per cent, according to the government’s statistics agency.

The government defaulted $30 billion of Eurobonds in March and has been trying to get a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

PUBLISHED: 06/08/2020; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: European Space Imaging