On the afternoon of 4 August 2020, two explosions occurred at the port of the city of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The second explosion was extremely powerful, and caused at least 171 deaths, 6,000 injuries, US$10–15 billion in property damage, and left an estimated 300,000 people homeless. The event was linked to about 2,750 tonnes (3,030 short tons; 2,710 long tons) of ammonium nitrate – equivalent to around 1.2 kilotons of TNT (5.0 TJ) – which had been confiscated by the Lebanese government from the abandoned ship MV Rhosus and then stored in the port without proper safety measures for six years.
The Lebanese government declared a two-week state of emergency in response to the disaster. In its aftermath, protests erupted across Lebanon against the government for their failure to prevent the explosions, joining a larger series of protests which have been taking place in the country since 2019. On 10 August 2020, Prime Minister Hassan Diab and the Lebanese cabinet resigned due to mounting political pressure that was exacerbated by the event.
The economy of Lebanon was in a state of crisis prior to the explosions, with the government having defaulted on debt, the pound plunging, and a poverty rate that had risen past fifty percent. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic had overwhelmed many of the country’s hospitals, several of which already were short of medical supplies and unable to pay staff due to a financial crisis.
Following the explosions, 177 people were confirmed dead with an additional 30 missing, and more than 6,000 people were injured. Hundreds of foreigners from at least 22 countries were among the casualties.
The damage from the blast affected over half of Beirut, with the likely cost above $15 billion and insured losses at around $3 billion. Approximately ninety percent of the hotels in the city were damaged and three hospitals completely destroyed, while two more suffered damage. Dozens of injured people brought to nearby hospitals could not be admitted because of the damage to the hospitals. Windows and other installations of glass across the city were shattered.
In the first week after the explosion, civilians gathered in hundreds to volunteer to clean up the debris on the streets and inside homes and businesses in Gemmayze, Achrafieh, and Karantina neighborhoods. Many civil society organizations offered equipment and food to the volunteers, while many residents and businesses opened their homes and hotels for free to those who lost their homes in the blast.
Representatives of multiple countries and the United Nations, offered condolences. In addition many countries have provided aid and are continuing to do so.
Many governments are matching funds raised by Community Stakeholders.
The Canadian Lebanese Community is heavily engaged with stakeholders to raise funds to provide aid to their homeland we ask that you communicate with the Government of Canada to thank them to their assistance and also to encourage them to raise the limit to one hundred million ($ 100 Million) for matching funds raised by NGOs