8 charts on the economic cost of Beirut's port explosion

16 September 2020 Consultancy.uk

The explosion in Beirut’s port on the 4th of August 2020 sent a shock through Lebanon, killing more than 220 people, injuring more than 6,500 and leaving some 300,000 people homeless. Alongside the personal hardship and grief it caused, new analysis by Strategy& shows that the cost of rebuilding the ‘Paris of the Middle East’ will run in the billions.

The impact of the explosion on the infrastructure of Beirut is immense. According to the analysis by Strategy&, economic damages (excluding public infrastructure) stand at over $3.1 billion. Rebuilding the public infrastructure – including the port, roads and water infrastructure – is estimated to cost to the tune of $15 billion.

Summary of the infrastructure impact

Economic damage to the housing in close proximity to the blast accounts for the largest share of the infrastructure total, at $1.8 billion. More than 2,500 buildings have severe or moderate damage.

Infrastructure impact - Housing

Beirut’s healthcare system has been hit hard by the blast, with 17 hospitals damaged of which four are severely damaged. In addition, 16 primary healthcare centres were damaged. The price tag of rebuilding these healthcare institutions is estimated at $75 million.

Infrasctructure impact - Healthcare

Around 31,000 businesses have been directly impacted by the explosion, due to damages to their stores and the destroyed/unusable inventory. Strategy&’s estimate places the value of damages at $865 million, with around 70% of the hit taken by non-consumer, lodging and leisure businesses.

Infrastructure impact - Business by sector

Alongside damages to assets, businesses in the area are facing a large drop in revenues, expected to cumulate to $920 million in the first twelve months following the blast. Given that micro-businesses have been excluded from the count due to a lack of available data, the real number will be higher. Unsurprisingly, the retail sector will face the largest decline.

Summary of the infrastructure impact

The number of jobs impacted is around 150,000, with circa 100,000 of these jobs put on hold due to the need for rebuilding and returning back to pre-blast activity.

Social impact - Businesses by sector

The damage to Beirut’s cultural heritage in the region is huge: 480 heritage buildings have been damaged, of which 85 severely damaged. In addition, 8 historical areas and cultural fabric have been damaged in: Mar Mkhayel, Sayfi, Gemmayze, Jeitawi, St Nicolas, Zukak blat, Minat al Hosn and Bachura. Around $285 million is needed to restore the works to their previous state. 

Cultural heritage funding requirements

The social impact – defined as the cost of healthcare and psychological support needed – is forecast to amount to $80 million. 

Social impact - Health

Further reading: Economic damages of Beirut explosion over $20 billion.


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