“And permit it at last to be, after having so well and truly been.”
Samir Kassir, Beirut
Port of Beirut, 4 august 2020. Around 2.750 tons of ammonium nitrate are recklessly stored in Hangar 12, just next to the city’s main grain silo, since 2014. The area is hit by a series of cataclysmic explosions ravaging half of the city. More than 150 people are killed, 5.000 injured and 300.000 are rendered homeless. It is still too early to evaluate the material cost of the destruction, but initial estimates start at $4 billion and go upwards.
Unfathomable challenges arise following a disaster of this magnitude but it is also a unique opportunity to reimagine Beirut completely. To rebuild the city for the people, rather than the elites. To reintroduce green open space, establish effective waste management, create an embryonic public transport system and to link this with nurturing new, independent social networks that cross divides. Patchwork reconstruction will be ineffective and damaging. What is needed is proper recovery governance and inspiring action.
We are currently collecting funds in order to bolster the collapsing healthcare system and support local organizations relentlessly working on the field.
We will be developing this concept over the coming few weeks in consultation with our local and international partners.