Thousands of Lebanese fail to repair houses damaged by Beirut’s blasts ahead of cold season

Mohamad Assaad lives with his four girls in a small house in Karantina, a Beirut neighborhood that was heavily destroyed by the explosions that rocked Beirut’s port in Lebanon on Aug. 4.

Assaad sits with his daughters around a round table holding small platters of fried potato and a small bowl of salad.

He can finally have a peaceful dinner with his girls after having emptied rainwater from his house, the rooftop of which is no longer capable of protecting Assaad’s family and their humble belongings after being destroyed by Beirut port’s blasts.

“When it rains, my house is filled with water and it feels as if we live in the streets,” Assaad told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, Hind Baytamouni, a mother of three kids, told Xinhua that she left her house in Karantina three months ago when the explosions hit Beirut.

“I am tired cleaning my house and my husband, who has been jobless for months now, can barely buy a new door for our house with the beginning of the winter season,” Baytamouni said.

Two huge explosions rocked Beirut’s port on Aug. 4, destroying a big part of the city while killing at least 190 people and wounding around 6,000 others.

Prior to the explosions, citizens had already suffered from dire living conditions, with unemployment rate exceeding 50 percent.

The explosions exacerbated the economic and financial crisis caused by a shortage in foreign currency and the outbreak of COVID-19.

Beirut’s blasts left at least 300,000 people homeless with thousands of people failing to afford fixing their houses and waiting for help by the government or foreign donors.

Around 85,744 residential units were partially or completely damaged by the explosions, according to a survey prepared by the Lebanese army.

President of the Advanced Emergency Room Sami Howayek announced on Sunday that the army started distributing financial compensations one week ago and it will compensate around 10,000 housing units.

Beirut’s Governor Marwan Abboud told Xinhua that the city is currently suffering from a dire situation as the state is bankrupt and the donations pledged by the emergency conference organized following the blasts were not received by Lebanon yet.

“We hope that the government will be formed soon and reforms will get implemented to unlock donations to be able to help people,” Abboud said.