Will the Beirut port explosion bring about true change in Lebanon?
The government’s resignation this week could pave the way for reform – and unlock essential IMF funding – but is the will to change there?
In Beirut’s Karantina, an area devastated by an explosion at the city’s port on August 4, volunteers have stepped in to help clean up its streets.
They are helping the area’s vulnerable – and now homeless – residents where the state is not, braving fragile infrastructure caused by the blast, which killed at least 171 people and injured more than 6,000.
It is a cruel allegory for life in Lebanon, where a systemically corrupt government has pushed its people to breaking point.
“This is the saddest part,” a senior Lebanese banker tells Euromoney. “The people there have nothing anymore, there is no state, there is no government.
“Thank god for the young people. They are coming to sweep, to take away the trash. Thank god for civil society, because the state is completely absent.”
Volunteers helping in Karantina. Source: International Committee of Red Cross
Amid an economic crisis in Lebanon and global health pandemic, almost 300,000 people have lost their homes. St George Hospital, one of the biggest in Beirut, was severely damaged and forced to close.