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Lebanon is one long tale of disaster and crisis

18 2 5

Lebanon has a deserved reputation for resilience; an uncanny ability to rebuild and carry on when all seems lost. The last ten months, however, have tested that resilience, bringing a seemingly never-ending cycle of crisis after crisis.

A dollar crisis has led to economic collapse; a financial crisis has slashed the value of salaries and prevented depositors from accessing their savings; an entrenched and corrupt political class lacks both the will and ability to implement reforms; a global coronavirus pandemic has brought the country’s hospitals to their knees while exacerbating a social crisis; and now two massive, and wholly avoidable, explosions have devastated the capital, Beirut.

Yesterday’s explosions took place after 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate caught fire; the explosive material had been stored in Beirut port’s Warehouse 12 for six years after being confiscated from a ship. The blasts were felt across the city and as far away as Cyprus, approximately 150 miles away over the Mediterranean Sea.

Current tallies show that at least 100 people were killed and more than 4,000 injured in the blasts, while hundreds more remain unaccounted for. Buildings across Beirut were damaged; balconies and windows far away in the suburbs were shattered.

In the wake of the explosions yesterday afternoon, Nabih Berri — Lebanon’s Speaker of the House and leader of the Amal Movement — talked of Beirut, like a phoenix, rising from the ashes. The reality is that the blasts spell disaster for Lebanon.

READ: No human rights progress in Lebanon since 2015, says HRW

Before the onset of the coronavirus........

© Middle East Monitor

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