The losses caused by the recent Beirut explosion are estimated to be upwards of a whopping $15 billion. A large amount of this loss was brought forth by the immense destruction of buildings in the Lebanese capital.
Based on a new estimate, the head of the Lebanese Syndicate of Public Works Contractors, Maroun El-Helou, revealed the number of damaged buildings in Beirut to be around 30,000.
The severity of the damage across different buildings is variable, El-Helou said in an interview with Voice of Lebanon (VDL), adding that it will require lots of time, efforts, and money for Beirut to recover from it.
He noted that among the estimates are 800 heritage buildings that have been completely destroyed.
On that note, following the Beirut Port explosion, UNESCO warned that 60 historic buildings had sustained damage so severe that they were at the risk of collapsing.
With that taken into consideration, the Organization has since pledged to protect these important sites.
As for the thousands of other affected buildings, El-Helou complained that the “comprehensive step” to recover and undo the damage, which he noted is the responsibility of the state, is not present.
In the meantime, he said that the damaged buildings are being isolated as an initial step, but the second stage of commencing restoration has not yet been reached.
“Who will repair the homes of those affected, in the absence of any comprehensive government plan,” he asked, echoing the concern of countless Lebanese who have been displaced by the blast and left without any insight into how or if their homes will be habitable again.
While individual organizations are making progress in helping families back to their homes, through various approaches, Lebanon’s housing bank recently started offering soft loans for people to rebuild or rehabilitate their damaged residences.
What’s certain, as Maroun El-Helo indicated, is that more effort is needed from the government to take control of the situation and implement a serious plan that will bring security back to tens of thousands of people — adults and children.