On August 4, 2020, a huge explosion occurred in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. 212 people were killed and about 6,000 injured. As the explosion was unusually large, as many as 77,000 houses were damaged to some extent. Those who lost houses have since been managing to survive by temporarily staying with relatives and other means. Beirut, a city once called “Paris in the middle east”, used to be a prosperous city as the center of business and finance in the region. However, a civil war that broke out in 1975 and had lasted for 15 years destroyed the economy. Despite the reconstruction efforts after the end of the civil war, the economic growth has been stagnant partly due to the impact of the crisis in Syria since 2011.
Since October 2019, citizens had staged protest actions, criticizing the government for inaction and corruption, which resulted in the resignation of the then prime minister. However, the serious financial crisis had continued: in March 2020, Lebanon declared default for the first time in its history. The currency collapsed and prices went up three- to five-fold in the economy where about 80% of daily necessities are imported. In addition, the lock-down (restriction on outings) policy implemented as part of infection control measures against the Covid-19 had resulted in losses of day-labor jobs, which also contributed to a further increase in the population in economic distress. Lebanon was in such a situation when the massive explosion took place.
Houses and businesses close to the point of the explosion were severely damaged. It is estimated that at least 70,000 people lost their jobs.
PARCIC began calling for donations immediately after the explosion occurred and conducted emergency assistance activities of provision of food and sanitary goods. We will continue to support those who are in need by closely monitoring the local situation.