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Vehicles drive near the site of the Aug. 4 explosion at Beirut port, in Beirut Vehicles drive near the site of the Aug. 4 explosion at Beirut port, in Beirut 

Germans to propose plan to rebuild Beirut port

The German government is to submit a proposal to rebuild the devastated Port of Beirut. The massive blast in August that killed over 200 people and displaced thousands compounded a critical political and economic crisis in the nation, with increasing numbers of Lebanese citizens pushed into poverty. Pope Francis has repeatedly appealed for aid to the people of Lebanon and expressed his closeness to those who are suffering.

By Nathan Morely

An explosion last year– left much of Beirut in ruins. The blast, which killed 200 people, was caused by tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse in the port, not far from Beirut city centre.

It is estimated the shockwave caused up to $15 billion in damage as well as leaving 5,000 injured and 300,000 homeless.

Now, citing unnamed ‘diplomatic sources,’ Reuters says Berlin will outline a proposal that the European Investment Bank has agreed to reconstruct facilities, with funding in the range of 2 billion to 3 billion euros.

 

It is understood an area of 100 hectares will be redeveloped.

Even before the explosion, Lebanon was suffering a deep economic crisis and struggling to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The country recorded record high unemployment levels, sluggish growth and holds one of the highest debt ratios anywhere in the Middle East.

In recent weeks, the rapid drop in the Lebanese lira has triggered nationwide protests which have raised the urgency for a new government to be formed.

For almost two years, bank accounts have been frozen, and local banks enforce restrictions on outgoing transfers and cash withdrawals of up to $1,000 per month.

Listen to the report by Nathan Morley
02 April 2021, 15:40