Lebanon army surveys 85,000 blast-damaged homes and buildings in Beirut

Lebanon army surveys 85,000 blast-damaged homes and buildings in Beirut
Lebanon army surveys 85,000 blast-damaged homes and buildings in Beirut

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Lebanon's army said on Saturday it has carried out a survey of more than 85,000 homes, businesses and other buildings damaged by the huge Beirut port blast last month.

The explosion on August 4 of hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut port killed more than 190 people, injured thousands and ravaged large parts of the capital.

"A total of 85,744 affected units have been surveyed," the army said.

It surveyed 60,818 housing units, 19,115 businesses, 1,137 heritage units, 962 restaurants, 82 teaching institutions and 12 hospitals.

It recorded almost 550,000 square metres (half a square kilometre) of glass ravaged, as well as 140,000 square metres of glass facades broken.

More than 108,000 doors had been damaged, the survey showed.

The army said it was still looking for nine people - three Lebanese, five Syrians and an Egyptian - still missing after the blast.

The survey "is considered to be sufficient, and there is therefore no need for further surveys by donor countries", it said in a statement.

The army said the donors, non-governmental organisations or volunteers could request access to the results.

On August 9, international donors pledged more than 250 million euros in emergency aid, in a video conference jointly organised by France and the United Nations.

French President Emmanuel Macron vowed in early September during a second visit to Lebanon since the blast to host a second conference in Paris in the second half of October.

On Saturday, a party founded by Lebanon's Christian president made a proposal to end a dispute that has blocked the formation of a new cabinet and threatened the French drive to lift the country out of its worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

The proposal, put forward on Saturday, involved handing major ministries to smaller sectarian groups in a country where power is shared between Muslims and Christians. There was no immediate comment from officials in Shiite Muslim groups, who have insisted they choose who fills several posts.

Lebanon's efforts to swiftly form a new government have run into the sand over how to pick ministers in a country where political loyalties mostly follow sectarian religious lines.

A September 15 deadline agreed with France to name a cabinet has passed. Paris, which is leading an international push to haul Lebanon back from economic collapse, has voiced exasperation and told Beirut to act "without delay".

The leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, the party founded by President Michel Aoun and allied to Hezbollah, proposed "undertaking an experiment to distribute the so-called sovereign ministries to smaller sects, specifically to the Druze, Alawites, Armenians and Christian minorities".

The statement was issued after Gebran Bassil, the party leader and son-in-law of the president, chaired a meeting of the party's political leadership. Bassil is a Maronite, Lebanon's largest Christian community.

Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib, a Sunni Muslim under Lebanon's sectarian system, wants to shake up the leadership of ministries, some of which have been controlled by the same factions for years.

A group of former Sunni prime ministers backing Mr Adib urged the prime minister-designate to press on with forming a government "as soon as possible."

Updated: September 19, 2020 07:06 PM

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