Lebanon to compensate for Beirut blast lost homes, businesses

Beirut: Lebanon has unveiled a compensation programme for the thousands of homes and businesses devastated by the August 4 mega-blast at Beirut’s port.

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President Michel Aoun on Thursday signed a decree allocating 100 billion Lebanese pounds (more than $66 million at the official exchange rate, or $13 million on the black market) to the programme, his office said.

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It added that the army and Beirut municipality would be tasked with setting up a mechanism to distribute the funds. The compensation will go to owners of homes and businesses damaged in the explosion that left more than 190 dead and devastated swathes of the capital, a source at the presidency said. According to an assessment by the army, the blast caused by a consignment of ammonium nitrate damaged almost 61,000 homes and over 19,000 businesses.

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The explosion compounded Lebanon’s worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war. On August 9, the international community pledged around $300 million in emergency aid at a conference jointly organised by France and the United Nations.

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The UN is to coordinate the aid to ensure it reaches those in need directly rather than through Lebanese government bodies, which are widely accused of corruption.

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